Ex-lawyer jailed for £1m mortgage fraud

According to a statement from the Serious Fraud Office, John Fitzpatrick pleaded guilty in November to two charges of obtaining money transfers by deception and seven charges of theft worth £1,157,000 over a period of four years.

The two counts of obtaining money transfers by deception related to his role as a solicitor facilitating and instigating mortgage frauds, while three counts related to the theft of funds entrusted to him for property transactions.

The document shows the client was left jobless and homeless due to Fitzpatrick’s theft, while another was led to believe that he had bought a home, only to find it had not been sold to him and his funds had been stolen.

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Four counts related to Fitzpatrick’s theft of money from clients who were falsely promised high returns on investments.

Fitzpatrick would have been sentenced alongside six others in earlier cases brought by the SFO and West Yorkshire Police but had fled to South Africa.

An extradition request was made in August 2011 and Fitzpatrick was arrested in May 2013 by the South African authorities.

Sentencing Fitzpatrick at Sheffield Crown Court on 27 February, Judge Moore described the frauds, committed between 1997 and 2001, as “quite spectacular”.

The four lenders who were the subject of fraud on Fitzpatrick’s part were Royal Bank of Scotland and Yorkshire Bank, a division of the Clydesdale Bank.