'Great' mortgage broker confesses conning customers out of £35k

'Great' mortgage broker confesses conning customers out of £35k



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A mortgage broker who conned dozens of customers into handing over thousands of pounds for services he never carried out has admitted 16 counts of fraud, reports local paper the News & Star.

Nigel Alexander McClements, 41, charged his clients for services including house surveys, valuations, and remortgage arrangements, but failed to carry them out before taking the fees.

Some of his customers had used him before, with one shocked customer describing his services as having been ‘great’ first time round.

However, despite this, after defrauding dozens of people, McClements, of Scaleby, near Carlisle, fled to South Africa where he claims he took up gambling in the hope of winning enough money to repay his victims.

Whilst in South Africa, police in Carlisle began receiving complaints and fraud detectives launched an investigation into him before finally contacting him and demanding his return.

The father-of-two refused to return but was eventually tracked down and arrested in Belfast.

He has been refused bail and is now remanded in custody where he awaits his sentencing hearing next month.

Carlisle police have recorded complaints against him from 35 people.

On an internet forum for home buyers, complaints against the broker include one from a man who blames the possible demise of his business on him. It reads: “He took £500 from me a couple of months ago on the promise of a commercial mortgage when he knew I had a bridging loan on it, which needed to be paid back by June 9, 2010.

“I am self-employed and now in danger of losing my business premises and my business, which I depend on to pay my house bills.

“This man knew all this yet he just kept promising the earth and nothing came out of it.

“He has not returned my money and ignores my phone calls and texts.”

McClements established his brokerage, Northumbria Mortgages, in 2003, but fell into trouble when the recession hit.

His FSA permit was cancelled on June 1 this year after he failed to pay fees and levies of £817, leading the authority to assume he was “not conducting his business soundly or prudently.”

In Carlisle Magistrates Court, Adrienne Harris, prosecuting, described the broker’s actions as ‘large scale fraud’ and part of a ‘sophisticated plan’.

Defending, Craig McKenzie said that when McClements went abroad there was indication that he was wanted by police. He went on to describe the man as someone of previous good character.

He said: “These offences have been committed in a desperate attempt to keep the wolf from the door.

“In trying to keep his family together he has resorted to desperate measures.”

Indeed many angry victims posting on a home buyers forum spoke of McClements’ previous good character, one post, dated June 18, reads: “He has been extremely reliable in the past and worked quickly and honestly. I cannot believe what I have discovered today.

“I have transferred £1,800 to secure my mortgage which has not happened. I would like to inform the police.”

Another client, writing on the same forum on June 4, wrote: “He did our mortgage six years ago and was great, so having got wind of this website we gave him the benefit of the doubt as he told us the mortgage offer was about to be issued at the end of last week.

“However, I’ve heard nothing from him since last Friday and on phoning the mortgage company direct they have no knowledge of us.”

McClements will be sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court on November 11.

 

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