Boxer benefits £190,000 in mortgage fraud

Boxer benefits £190,000 in mortgage fraud


A Newport boxer, who benefitted by more than £190,000 from a mortgage fraud, was ordered to repay just £2,600 of this amount in court last week.

26-year-old Justin Hugh, of Gore Street, Newport, initially applied for a mortgage of £91,152 from Principality Building Society in 2005. When his accountant refused to confirm that Hugh was earning a salary of £23,350, the light heavyweight decided to produce his own forged documentation.

Hugh then enjoyed two years on a fixed-rate, and subsequently applied for a re-mortgage on the same property, this time for £101,150.

His remortgage request was accepted, despite the fact that, according to HM Revenue and Customs, he had never earned more than £9,000 gross. In fact, records show that Hugh’s gross earnings for 2004-2005 were just £7,668.

Between 2005 and 2009, Hugh made regular payments on the mortgage and did not present any warning signals to alert onlookers that he had lied on his loan applications. He was also a successful professional boxer with ‘excellent’ references.

Eventually though, the authorities caught up with Hugh, and he was handed a 12 month sentence, suspended for two years. Last week when he appeared in Cardiff Crown Court for his Proceeds of Crime Ac hearing, he was also ordered to pay back £2,652.16 over a six month period.

It was decided that this amount was the total value of Hugh’s assets, and therefore the maximum amount that could be charged.

Tim Hayes, of Pannone LLP, said:”In such cases, the court uses a combination of factors to determine the amount that the defendant has benefitted and the current worth of their assets at that time

“The defendant’s submission, as well as the prosecution’s financial reports, are both taken into account. Consequently, although the £2,652.16 figure appears to be significantly less than the amount that the defendant benefitted, it is in fact carefully calculated.”

Another shocking factor in this case was the apparent ease with which Hugh was able to forge accountancy letters for the sake of the mortgage.

However, it seems that the current mortgage market is much less likely to afford a similar applicant such ease.

Tim Hayes explained:”In the current market, it would be extremely unlikely that any bank would lend more than a 70 or 80 per cent LTV. This would mean that the buyer would have to show a significant amount of cash to be able to purchase the property.”

Fraser Sinclair, partner at Pure Law LLP, added: “These days, most lenders will require supporting information to substantiate income and therefore would most likely prevent the majority of attempted frauds.”

By Katie-Jill Rowland

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