£2.2m fraud broker battles 'draconian' law

£2.2m fraud broker battles 'draconian' law



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A broker who was convicted for his part in a £2.2 million mortgage fraud scam is fighting court orders which attempt to reclaim £237,634 of his assets.


Martin Watson was released after serving less than half of a three years and nine months prison sentence for his crimes, in which he benefitted approximately £913,307.


This week he appeared in Newcastle Crown Court for a proceeds of crime hearing. The court concluded that despite Watson having benefitted almost £1 million, he would have to repay just £237,624 now.


Watson though was not satisfied. After the case he labelled the legislation under which the money is being seized ‘draconian’.


He told the Journal Live: “It’s draconian, it’s up to me to prove where every penny came from. I only made £15,000, I was only getting 0.3 per cent off each mortgage because I was giving people high street deals.”


Watson has six months to pay back the £237,624, and faces a further three year prison sentence if he fails to do so.


He is now reported to be considering selling his Florida property and also his Ponteland home.
Watson’s fraud run began in 2004. He used fake job records, pay slips and P60s supplied by his accomplice, Paul Robertson, who sourced the documents from his South Tyneside accountancy firm.


These documents were used to secure home loans from high street banks and building societies.

All in all, at least 20 applications were accepted and loans worth £2.24 million were secured.
The duo also lied about their clients’ salaries and employment details, winning mortgage advances of up to £219,000 on properties in the North East.


The homes and their buyers all existed and only one has been flagged as having possibly fallen into arrears.


Robertson was also jailed for 12 months for his part in the crimes.


Whilst jailing Watson, at the time, Judge Wood said: “In part, you contributed to the sub-prime mortgage market which as everybody knows has had a fairly disastrous effect on the banking industry in this country.


“Many people trusted you to give them sound advice and you didn’t do so.”


 

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