The Chelsea Building Society has made a provision of £41m for such mortgage fraud, and it is not alone. The fraudulent mortgage brokers licensed by the FSA were a critical link in the chain that allowed the banks to lend so recklessly; the negligence of the FSA in this respect is directly responsible for the billions that bailing the banks out has cost us all. Ukala and hundreds more like her are part of the government's self-inflicted economic injury. And they're not all Nigerians.
Thamesmead in south-east London is an area of new pile-it-high flog-it-cheap housing on a rancid marsh at the side of the Thames opposite Dagenham. It's also the centre of mortgage fraud and over-valuation on an unbelievable scale; stories have been circulating on south London building sites for a couple of years about pastors from the African churches arriving at sales offices with suitcases crammed with banknotes to buy the new homes as they were built. When the bubble burst the collapse in property values was so catastrophic that rumours abound of emergency intervention to stabilise the local market.
Now six more people have appeared in court in connection with Thamesmead mortgage fraud; as FTAdvisor reports;
It wasn't only the bankers who got rich from the recklessness of Fred Goodwin and his kind; it was every minor league fraudster, 419er, scammer and crooked babu in the country. And the extent of mortgage fraud now appears to have been so widespread that a good part of the hit we're taking on our home values is not down to the US Sub-Prime market but the reckless negligence of the FSA in licensing so many fraudsters, crooks and scammers.
The fraud came to light last year following reports from banks and building societies when the properties came to be either sold or re-possessed and the true property value was realised by the lender. Eleven arrests were made as part of an investigation by the Metropolitan Police's money laundering team between May and November last year. It is alleged a company bought 84 off-plan new build flats in Thamesmead, south-east London, and resold them at inflated prices.
In most cases, it is alleged the buyers would not otherwise have qualified for a mortgage.
Mohamed Alie Barrie, 38, of Pinewood Close, Dartford, has been charged with conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to money launder and money laundering. Brad Sean Fisher, 42, of Tiptree Crescent, Ilford, has been charged with conspiracy to defraud and two counts of money laundering. Sofiyah Ahmed, 26, of Howard Road, Walthamstow, has been charged with conspiracy to defraud. George Sourou, 42, of The Crescent, Ilford, has been charged with conspiracy to defraud and five counts of money laundering. Stuart Joseph, 62, of Furham Field, Pinner, has been charged with conspiracy to defraud and false accounting. Dean Aladapo Dairo, 44, of Eastern Avenue, Aveley, Romford, has been charged with conspiracy to defraud and false accounting. Two men have been released without charge, while three men have remained on bail.
Those that remain on bail include a 40-year old man who was arrested in north London on suspicion of laundering the proceeds of crime. He was found in possession of a briefcase containing 152,000 Euros and $2000 US dollars. A 28-year old man who was arrested in north London on suspicion of laundering the proceeds of crime is on bail. He was found in possession of a carrier bag containing £100,000 cash.
Also remaining on bail is a 39-year old man who was arrested on suspicion of money laundering offences.
If ever there was a better argument for a return to Bank regulation and the consignment of the FSA to the dustbin of history I've yet to hear it. The creation of the FSA was one of Gordon Brown's first acts as Chancellor, and his purblind stupidity and utter unfitness for any financial office is ultimately to blame for this debacle.