Mortgage fraudster 'conned lenders out of £5.5m'

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An alleged fraudster conned a series of mortgage lenders out of more than £5.5 million in a bid to make a profit "come what may", a court heard today.

Dixit Shah, 49, lied about applicants' incomes and used individuals' names without their permission to get mortgages on a series of properties which he then rented or sold on for profit, Southwark Crown Court in central London heard.

Shah conspired with Gaurav Mathur, who is wanted and remains on the run, and they were both simply in it for the money, the jury was told.

Toby Fitzgerald, for the prosecution, said the pair did not care whether they gained the mortgages honestly or dishonestly.

"The Crown say that the defendant and Gaurav Mathur were out to obtain a number of different properties in order to make a profit come what may," he said.

"You will hear that the amount obtained by them in total in terms of loans exceeded £5.5 million."

The duo would lie about an applicant's income to obtain larger mortgages than they could afford, the jury of seven men and five women was told.

Once they bought a property, they would profit either from the increase in its value over time or from the significant rental income that could be gained, it was claimed.

"What distinguishes this case from a case of legitimate investment in property through mortgage applications is that these mortgage applications that the Crown relies upon were made dishonestly and fraudulently," Mr Fitzgerald said.

Shah, of High Mead, Harrow, north London, is representing himself and sat in the dock at the back of the court listening to the prosecutor's opening.

He denies conspiracy to defraud between January 1, 2006 and April 10, 2008 and is on remand in custody.

Shah Management accountant Shah, who told police he was also a Bollywood producer, director and actor, was involved in taking out fraudulent mortgages on 25 properties, the jury was told.

These included a £238,000 loan from Kensington Mortgages in March 2007 on a property in Zangwill Road, Greenwich, south east London, which was almost £7,000 in arrears at the end of October last year. In this application, Mathur, 38, claimed to be self-employed and have an income of between £93,000 and £95,000.

Earlier, the court heard Shah initially told police Mathur was only a client when he was arrested in September last year. But in November, Shah admitted Mathur was his business partner in a multimillion-pound property venture, the court was told.

He said he had employed Mathur for between £1,500 and £3,000 per month before he became his business partner in a consultancy firm called Global Education and Services Ltd.

The pair then decided to broaden their activities and ventured into property deals, seeking to take advantage of rising prices to sell the properties on at a profit after a number of years. But he added that all the property deals were carried out by Mathur.

Mr Fitzgerald asked the jury: "What part of the defendant's relationship with Gaurav Mathur did he have to hide?"

Shah was responsible, with Gaurav Mathur, for this conspiracy to fraudulently take out the mortgage applications in a bid "to build an extensive property portfolio", Mr Fitzgerald said.

The trial continues.