By Marcus Leach
The Financial Services Authority has banned four mortgage intermediaries and imposed fines totalling £450,000 for knowingly using misleading and inaccurate information to secure mortgages.
Joseph Chinedu Nwosu, the founder, sole shareholder and sole director of Gemmini Mortgages Ltd (Gemmini), was fined £200,000 and banned from working in financial services for attempting 14 cases of mortgage fraud over a period of 26 months.
Nwosu obtained five regulated residential mortgages and one unregulated buy-to-let mortgage using inaccurate and misleading personal information. The financial penalty imposed on Nwosu is one of the largest to be imposed on an individual for such misconduct.
Gemmini’s permission to conduct regulated activities has been cancelled. Jageet Kaur, who was a mortgage advisor employed by Gemmini, has also been banned from working in financial services for having knowingly submitted five false and misleading personal mortgage applications.
Alaba Adewale Adebajo, director of Whitehouse Estate Agents and Financial Services Ltd (Whitehouse), has been banned from working in financial services and fined £150,000. Adebajo, who committed five cases of mortgage fraud and failed to keep sufficient client records, was one of the two directors of Whitehouse, the only approved person at the firm, and the owner of 100% of the share capital. As a result the FSA has also cancelled the permission of Whitehouse to carry on regulated activities.
Alistair Curren of B-Assured Financial (B-Assured) was fined £100,000 and banned from working in financial services. Curren submitted fraudulent mortgage applications, failed to declare income to HMRC and failed to comply with specific requirements imposed on him by the FSA aimed at ensuring that risks to customers posed by him were addressed.
The Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) upheld both the ban and the fine against Curren. In its published judgment the Upper Tribunal recognised the risk posed by mortgage brokers involved in mortgage fraud:
“The submission to lending institutions of dishonest mortgage applications is, in our view, a very serious matter. Persons in Mr Curren’s position earn commission in return for carrying out enquiries into the veracity of what is said in the application, and lending institutions should be able to rely with confidence on their having done so.”
Tracey McDermott, FSA acting director of enforcement and financial crime, said:
“These four mortgage brokers were caught and punished for their involvement in mortgage fraud. As part of our credible deterrence agenda we remain active in the area of tackling mortgage fraud, and others in the industry who act in this way will continue to face tough sanctions.
“The Tribunal's judgment on Curren sends an important message to others in the industry about how seriously this sort of behaviour will be taken.”