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New Lenders Vulnerable to Mortgage Fraud

As market conditions have gradually improved in the last couple of years, a wave of new lenders have flooded the home loan market, providing consumers with access to a greater choice of often innovative new mortgage deals. Opportunists and organised crime groups it is thought could target new lenders to test their defences, looking for weaknesses in systems. New lenders will need to place value on the role of professionals involved – often lenders can leave themselves open when expediency is favoured over rigorous checks and measures, as the process becomes a box ticking exercise. Firms will need to consider their relationship with brokers, solicitors and surveyors and be vigilant to fraudulent behaviour.

The typical mortgage fraud is the organised fraud involving the input of a corrupt professional and using false identification to complete the purchase. Typical examples will involve back-to-back sales where the true purchase price is concealed, and the lender is duped into lending more than 100% of the purchase price.

Advances in technology have made it easier to falsify necessary documentation to commit fraud, such as bank statements and corresponding payslips which tie up with the information shown on the bank statements. The challenge for new lenders to be able to identify these attempts within a mass of otherwise genuine applications.

Technological advances can, on the other hand, also benefit lenders in preventing fraud. Checks can be made in a short time on electronic identification systems, bank accounts, document verification systems, and automated valuation models. Software has also been developed to identify anomalies in identification provided by the consumer, such as mismatches in any personal details; and whether the applicant has a criminal history involving financial crime.

Collaboration and data sharing through fraud prevention agencies is also a useful way to prevent organised fraud. This not only allows lenders to screen applications against a list of confirmed frauds and high-risk alerts, but it can also help in knowledge sharing for the latest advancements and methods used by organised fraud groups so that the lender can then circumvent any potential fraud schemes or data theft on their business.

With the new culture for efficiency and speed “straight through processing” is the method adopted by many new lenders, involving automated document checks and requiring very little involvement from an underwriter. Where this is beneficial in terms of speed and cost, it can make the process more susceptible to fraud, where an application is not carefully examined as a whole, and irregularities can be missed.

Expert Mortgage Fraud Solicitors London

Stephen Lickrish and Associates have significant experience in defending such professionals, including solicitors, mortgage brokers and accountants involved in investigations or prosecutions relating to alleged mortgage fraud. Such cases are often prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office and the Fraud Prosecution Service, and can have very serious consequences for those involved. However, our team have excellent experience in securing positive outcomes for our clients.

When facing investigation or prosecution for fraud, it’s vital to have the support of highly skilled and specialist defence lawyers who will protect your rights and interests. Here, at Stephen Lickrish & Associates, we work discretely and proactively to provide our clients with the best possible defence and representation when facing serious fraud investigation and prosecution.

Stephen Lickrish & Associates’ expert solicitors have over fifty years’ combined experience and a high success rate defending clients in a wide variety of fraud cases. We are a Manchester based law firm, and serve clients across the whole of England and Wales. Contact us today by calling us at 0161 237 1913 or on 0800 988 64 22 for 24-hour legal advice. Alternatively, complete our online enquiry form, and a member of our team will be in touch with you shortly.

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