Six solicitors, a surveyor and property developer deny commercial mortgage fraud of £50m

Six solicitors, a surveyor and property developer deny commercial mortgage fraud of £50m


Six former solicitors, a surveyor and a property developer have denied taking part in a commercial mortgage fraud worth a staggering £50 million.

Kamran Malik, 31, of Birmingham, and Mark Knights, 45, of Cheshire, both solicitors, were granted bail in Southwark Crown Court after denying three counts of obtaining a money transfer by deception.

Their case is linked to that of six others also released on bail and awaiting trial. These are; chartered surveyor, Ian McGarry, 41, from St Albans, property developer, Saghir Afzal, 48, from Birmingham, Laurence Ferrigan, 48, of North London, a former partner at the East London based CFB Partnership and Simon Lawrence, 49, from Buckinghamshire, a former partner at Darlingtons Solicitors.

Fatema Patwa, 48, and her ex employee, Hardeep Sodhi, 33, both from Birmingham have also been accused.

The four men and two women denied two counts of conspiracy to obtain money transfers by deception.

The investigation began over four years ago and was referred to the Serious Fraud Office by West Midlands Police in March 2006, following a complaint by the Cheshire Building Society.

The case relates to a mortgage on the Concentric Works in Priory Rd, Aston, Birmingham between May, 2004 and October, 2005 and another for Tattersett Business Park in Fakenham, Norfolk, between April 2004 and September 2005.

On December 18 2009, it was alleged that that six of the defendants participated in a series of frauds whereby they dishonestly obtained loans from banks or building societies that were secured on six commercial investment properties.

Each property was transferred between companies controlled by one of the defendants and his associates at highly inflated prices in a series of back-to-back transactions. On the basis of the grossly inflated prices, fraudulent valuations and forged leases, the defendants applied for and obtained mortgage advances totaling nearly £50 million. 

The mortgages were quickly defaulted on and the lenders suffered significant losses. At the the time the six involved held the following positions: McGarry was a chartered surveyor at Dunlop Haywards Lorenz; Fatema Patwa was the sole principal of her own firm, Patwa Solicitors, based in Birmingham. Hardeep Sodhi was a solicitor employed at Patwa Solicitors in Birmingham. Laurence Ferrigan was a partner at The CFB Partnership, Wanstead, East London. Saghir Afzal was a company director and property owner. Simon Lawrence was a partner of Darlingtons Solicitors in, Edgware.

Two months later Mark Knights and Kamran Malik appeard in the City of London Magistrates Court after being charged with offenses relating to the fraud. At the relevant time Mark Knights was employed at Mace & Jones Solicitors, Manchester and Kamran Malik was a partner in A&H Solicitors in Birmingham.







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