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Two jailed in 'UK's biggest mortgage fraud'

Surveyor and property developer given sentences of seven and 13 years for their part in a £49m mortgage fraud.

By Marc Shoffman | Published Jun 15, 2011 | comments

Surveyor Ian McGarry and property developer Saghir Afzal were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court yesterday (14 June) to prison terms of seven and 13 years respectively for their part in a £49m mortgage fraud.

The sentencing followed an SFO decision to drop a retrial into three accused solicitors, Fatema Patwa, Kamran Malik and Laurence Ferrigan, who the jury could not agree a verdict on. The proescution said a further trial was "not in the public interest". All had pleaded not guilty.

Three other defendants, Hardeep Sodhi, Mark Knights and Simon Lawrence, who also pleaded not guilty, were acquitted last month.

Investigations undertaken by the Serious Fraud Office into six property transactions found the real combined value of the properties was £6m, prosecuting QC Andrew Ballie said.

SFO director Richard Alderman said: "I am pleased with the result, the principal defendants have received hefty sentences, which reflect the seriousness of the offences."

The prosecution said that the first count related to a transaction that took place in 2004 on Concentric Works in Priory Road, Aston, secured using a £10.5m mortgage from Cheshire Building Society, the court was told.

The second count concerned a former US air force base, Tattersett Business Park in Norfolk. The deal was completed using a £9.1m loan from Societe Generale, based on a fraudulent valuation of £16m by Mr McGarry.

The third count related to a property in Alma Street, Smethwick. It was purchased with borrowings of £1.75m from the Bank of Ireland, based on McGarry's valuation. In 2007, it was repossessed by the Bank of Ireland and sold for £100,000.

The fourth count related to Saltley Industrial Estate in Birmingham. It was bought in November 2005 for £6m before being sold for £8m using a £6.4m loan from Nationwide. It was repossessed in June 2007 and sold for £650,000.

The fifth count involved obtaining £14m from Nationwide to buy St Ivel Works in Carmarthen and the sixth involved the BIP offices, which were sold for £588,000 in January 2006 and, the next month, sold for £7m, using a £6.15m mortgage from Nationwide.

Directions on a confiscation hearing will be given on 13 January 2012.

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