FOUR SOLICITORS were jailed yesterday for their part in a massive mortgage fraud.
The solicitors, along with a professional property valuer, had helped a 19-strong network make 128 applications for more than 90 properties in the Greater Manchester and Lancashire areas, usually giving false details, Liverpool Crown Court was told.
Sentencing them, Mr Justice Jowitt said that with the right combination of dishonest people, mortgage fraud was all too easy to commit.
More than pounds 1.8m was obtained from building societies, banks and other financial institutions and the team made unsuccessful attempts to obtain a further pounds 2.5m.
Sixteen men, including the solicitors, were jailed for periods ranging from six months to three years and three women received community service orders.
Two solicitors and a valuer were found guilty after a 10-week trial and the rest pleaded guilty to their roles in the fraud, which spanned more than five years.
Michael Farrell, 37, of Holgrove Close, Knutsford, was convicted of fraud and jailed for two and a half years. Martin Stevens, 42, of Apperley Grange, Ellesmere Park, Eccles, Manchester, was jailed for two years after admitting conspiracy. Andrew Bolchover, 36, of Sandileigh Avenue, Withington, Manchester, received six months after being convicted of fraud; and the fourth solicitor, David Philips, 38, of Malvern Grove, Withington, was jailed for 15 months after admitting conspiracy.
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