Your IndustryJun 4 2018

Banned and fined ex-mortgage broker is jailed

Search supported by
Banned and fined ex-mortgage broker is jailed

A 52-year-old fraudster and rogue mortgage broker who swindled a family friend out of £28,000 saved for her old age has been jailed for four years.

Mark Thorogood, of Llandudno, Wales, had been found guilty by a jury of defrauding Emma Edgley, 57, of Pontllyfni, near Caernarfon.

In a impact statement she told Caernarfon Crown Court that "a friendly loan had turned into a nightmare" and forced her into selling property.

She claimed there had been other victims, too, and one woman blamed her husband's early death on losing their home because of Thorogood.

"Mentally my life was ruined," the victim said.

She added: "I feel stupid and duped. I find it difficult to trust anyone any more. I don't trust my own judgement any more."

Recorder Duncan Bould, passing sentence, said for years since the loan in 2010 Thorogood had fobbed her off when she asked to be repaid.

She had been deprived of money earmarked for what she called "her rural idyll".

He said: "This was, in my view, fraudulent activity over a sustained period.

"You deliberately targeted a vulnerable lady whom you knew very well." 

Anna Pope, prosecuting, said Thorogood had been fined £104,000 by the Financial Services Authority and issued with a prohibition order after submitting fraudulent mortgage applications.

He had failed to comply with codes and principles and his company Property Park Mortgages was deemed to have failed to act "with honesty and integrity."

The FSA also found Thorogood failed to implement, or take reasonable steps to implement, adequate systems and controls to ensure the mortgage advice given to Property Park's customers was suitable, the supervision and monitoring of his staff was adequate and that Property Park was not used as a vehicle for financial crime.

He also had a previous conviction for failing to comply with conditions of housing management and an improvement notice.

Ms Pope described Emma Edgley, who had been a self employed IT consultant, as "a prime target for a man wishing to defraud". 

She had got to know the Thorogood family through her sister's relationship with the defendant's father.

A year before the loan she agreed to lend him £15,000 and he kept to an agreement to repay at £250 a month.

"We say this was to gain her trust," Ms Pope told the judge.

There had been a verbal agreement for her to transfer £28,000 in June 2010  for him to put in his solicitor's account to await a mortgage.

"It was agreed between them that he would repay the money to her within a couple of months. She had no reason to doubt him as he had, up until then, appeared to keep his word."

The money in fact did not go into the solicitor's account but was used for payments including outstanding mortgages on properties.

He received thousands of pounds from selling properties.

In August 2010 he put £58,000 in his own account.

"It was an ideal opportunity to pay back Ms Edgley – but he did not," said Miss Pope.

Defence barrister Myles Wilson said Thorogood had typed a letter to the judge.

Mr Wilson suggested that a suspended sentence would allow Thorogood to support two members of his family and continue in business renting out three flats for which he was being put under pressure by the mortgage lender.

Thorogood had maintained he wanted to repay the cash with interest but had been under severe financial pressure because of the FSA fine.

The judge told him: "She is a lady with a kind, generous and trusting nature." Thorogood was in a dire financial situation "with a history of questionable financial dealings".

There will be proceeds of crime hearings later this year.  

After the case. victim Ms Edgley said she had no feelings about the sentence.

"The damage has been done", she said.