BIRMINGHAM POST 3RD SEPTEMBER 2010
Three Coventry men jailed over multi-million pound mortgage fraud
Sep 3 2010
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Three Coventry men who led a multi-million pound mortgage fraud racket have been sentenced to a total of 12 years in prison.
Michael Browne, from Canley, built up a portfolio of property across the city on the back of a string of false mortgage applications.
He was sentenced to three years in prison, but had his sentenced reduced due to time spent on remand and the fact that he entered a guilty plea.
Browne was arrested in November 2008 and a lengthy financial investigation followed, identifying numerous people involved in mortgage fraud.
The 49-year-old, who also has a villa in Spain, now faces losing everything as West Midlands Regional Asset Recovery Team vow to claw back his wealth.
Money obtained through the frauds was used to purchase the six-bedroomed villa, which was raided by officers and the Spanish police.
Browne used the specialist skills and knowledge of an independent financial advisor, Mark Campbell, to acquire loans overstating his income in mortgage applications.
Campbell was convicted after the jury heard how he falsified incomes and produced false letters of employment and references.
Campbell was sentenced to five-and-a-half years jail along with his partners at Birmingham Crown Court.
Campbell would obtain mortgages for Browne and his family and associates with a 'no-questions-asked attitude', without signing forms or producing proof of income.
Browne's business partner in a property development company called MIDA developments, David Vincent Smith, from Tile Hill, Coventry, was also convicted of the offences after a five-week trial this year. He used Campbell to obtain loans using false references and inflated incomes.
Smith will serve three-and-a-half years in prison.
Campbell also used the services of another man, Andrew Harris, from Keresley in Coventry, to produce false payslips. Harris pleaded guilty in 2009 and will be sentenced at a later date.
Police will now begin legal proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act to ensure the three mens' assets are seized and ploughed back into fighting crime.
Browne is said to have acquired "huge wealth" through the organised con, which he ran for many years.
Det Inspector Chris Berrow, of the Regional Asset Recovery Team, said:
"Browne pleaded guilty at an early stage when he saw the overwhelming evidence against him.
"Campbell and Smith, however, denied the fraud to the end - even though there was overwhelming documentary evidence that showed they lied to banks and lending institutes time and time again"
"Campbell abused his position and used his knowledge and skills to obtain a mortgage for anyone who wanted one, no matter whether they were employed or not. He even acquired property for family members using false applications to ensure they benefitted too"
The three men were caught in the net which police spread over the city as part of Operation Closedown in November and December 2008.
The crackdown, primarily to tackle drug related crime, saw 39 people arrested and handed more than 140 years in prison.
A total of £6 million worth of assets has been restrained pending financial investigation and future court cases – a figure that is expected to rise with the sentencing of Browne and his accomplices.
Det Inspector Berrow added: "These men profited from fraud when people around them are working hard to get their foot on the property ladder.
"We will now endeavour to ensure any money gathered in the course of their crimes is recovered so that their efforts are in vain."
Mr David Vincent Smith - free company director check. Companies ...
Gable Cottage 383 Broad Lane Broad Lane Coventry Warwickshire CV5 7AX. Advertise on this ... D.A.S. CONSTRUCTION (MIDLANDS) LIMITED, Dissolved ...
383 BROAD LANE COVENTRY CV5 7AX
Sunbeam Fostering Agency Limited
383 Broad Lane, COVENTRY, CV5 7AX
Provider type: Independent Fostering Services
Local authority: CoventryRegion: West Midlands
I AM HAVING TROUBLE FINDING THE OFSTED REPORT FOR SUNBEAM FOSTERING AGENCY LIMITED NUMBER SC425236 REGISTERED AT 383 BROAD LANE COVENTRY CV5 7AX