12 years' jail for IFA and property tycoons over multi-million pound fraud

12 years' jail for IFA and property tycoons over multi-million pound fraud


A trio of two property developers and an IFA has had its multi-million pound mortgage fraud racket uncovered as part of a major city-wide crackdown on crime by Coventry police.

IFA Mark Campbell of St Ann’s Road in Stoke, helped Michael Browne, 49, and his business partner David Vincent Smith from Tile Hill in Coventry, to obtain fraudulent mortgage applications by faking and inflating the men’s incomes, reports the Sunday Mercury.

Campbell was sentenced to five-and-a-half years jail at Birmingham Crown Court. Browne, from Canley, received three years after having his sentence reduced because he pleaded guilty and spent time on remand.

Smith will serve three-and-a-half years in prison. A fourth man was also involved, Andrew Harris, from Keresley who helped provide false payslips, he has pleaded guilty but he is yet to be sentenced.

Campbell overstated Browne’s income on several occasions, allowing for the tycoon to build up a substantial portfolio of property across the city, including ten properties in Coventry and a villa in Spain.

The IFA was finally caught out and arrested in 2008, as part of Operation Closedown, the Coventy’s recent crime crackdown.

Detective Inspector Chris Berrow, of the Regional Asset Recovery Team, said: "Browne pleaded guilty at an early stage when he saw the overwhelming evidence against him, Campbell and Smith however denied the fraud to the end even though there was overwhelming documentary evidence that showed they lied to banks and lending institutes time and time again."

“Campbell abused his position and used his knowledge and skills to obtain a mortgage for anyone who wanted one, no matter whether they were employed or not.

“He even acquired property for family members using false applications to ensure they benefitted too."

Police will now begin the official legal proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act to the three principle participants in the fraud have their assets seized, the revenue will be used by the force in their fight against crime in the area.

Det Inspector Berrow added: "These men profited from fraud when people around them are working hard to get their foot on the property ladder.

"We will now endeavor to ensure any money gathered in the course of their crimes is recovered so that their efforts are in vain."


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