Ilford mortgage fraudsters handed prison sentences for scamming £38,000 from vulnerable families
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Two mortgage fraudsters who preyed on financially vulnerable residents desperate for a home loan have been handed prison sentences.
Jamsahid Butt, 32, of Roden Street, Ilford, and Ali Hussain, 40, of Wilmington Road, Barking, fleeced more than £38,000 from customers trying to get a foot on the property ladder.
Yesterday at Snaresbrook Crown Court, Hussain was sentenced to two years imprisonment and disqualified from being a company director for 10 years.
Butt was sentenced to a 12 months prison term, suspended for two years, with an order to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.
An application for costs and compensation was adjourned pending the outcome of confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
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On February 27, Butt was convicted of fraudulent trading and Hussain was found guilty of conspiring to defraud.
Redbridge Trading Standards were alerted to the fraudsters following a large number of reports of crime to Citizens Advice Consumer Service and Action Fraud.
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They claimed their firm The Mortgage Centre could improve the credit rating of buyers who had previously been turned down for loan and get them a mortgage.
TV adverts that targeted the Asian community in Redbridge, and a shop in Cranbrook Road, Ilford, gave their outfit credibility.
The adverts were targeted at those that had poor credit histories or who had been unable to obtain a mortgage from a high street bank, making potential customers financially vulnerable and more likely to make impulsive decisions.
Desperate borrowers lost thousands of pounds in upfront payments when mortgages they were promised never materialised, and the company then became un-contactable and evasive.
During the trial, Hussain, who pleaded not guilty, told the court that he was only a junior employee who had no control over the financial affairs of the business.
However, Trading Standards evidence showed that it was he who had opened a number of company bank accounts and had received payments directly into his own personal bank account.
Evidence was also provided of fake documents had been used by the business to make them appear to be legitimate.
Cllr Sheila Bain, cabinet member for civic pride said, “The sentencing sends a clear message that those in a position of trust who cheat their customers will be prosecuted and convicted. We will not tolerate this sort of criminal behaviour in our borough.
“We make every effort to detect these types of crimes which affect our residents and we ask for the toughest penalties for offenders.
“We are pleased with the outcome of this prosecution and hope it will be a lesson to others.”
Due to the scale of the crimes that had been committed over an area ranging from Portsmouth to Scarborough, Redbridge Council were able to call on the services of a specialist Scambuster team who provided expert investigators.
Carl Robinson, chair of the tri-region scambuster team said the outcome was an excellent result.
He said: “This is a prime example of the type of scams often targeting specific and vulnerable groups within our communities that Trading Standards are tackling.”