'Diamond geezer', conveyancer & mortgage broker: The £8m fraud

'Diamond geezer', conveyancer & mortgage broker: The £8m fraud


A convicted fraudster, described as a ‘diamond geezer’ by a former boxing world champion, has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for his part in a £8 million mortgage fraud, which saw a licensed conveyancer and a mortgage broker also sentenced.

Warren Dunton, from Essex, who placed bets for high-profile sports figures, including a Premiership footballer, obtained three mortgages in 1999, 2002 and 2007 by declaring false income and employment details, a 


press release stated.


When placing bets on behalf of clients, Dunton would either keep part of the stake money for himself or give odds that were less favourable than he could get elsewhere, which would then allow him to pocket the ‘extra’ winnings.

Evidence from Premier League footballer Mathew Etherington of Stoke City stated that he staked up to £800,000 with Dunton over a two year period.

Dunton, 45, described as a ‘diamond geezer’ by close friend and former boxing world champion Frank Bruno, who was a character witness in his case, bagged three sham mortgages worth around £650,000 with the help of crooked broker Anothony Sanham, reported Court News UK.

During a three-week trial, the jury heard that Dunton applied for three ‘non status mortgages’ to avoid providing exact employment details. He claimed his income came from gambling and was tax free, yet analysis showed that in one of the mortgage applications, in 2007, Dunton declared he was employed as a quantity surveyor earning £127,000.

The SOCA investigation showed that Dunton purchased three consecutive houses in Essex using a network of ‘prof

essional’ facilitators, a licensed conveyancer, Paul Reader, a mortgage broker, Tony Sanham, and his partner, Catherine Ferguson. They provided false payslips, P60s, employment details and conveyancing for a number of ‘clients’.

Further analysis showed that Paul Reader, who can no longer be employed by solicitors’ firms, obtained his own fraudulent mortgages through Sanham. Tony Sanham pleaded guilty to obtaining 43 fraudulent mortgages worth over £8 million.

His Honour Judge Price, sitting in Southwark Crown Court, said, "This was a very difficult and complex case," before jailing Sanham, Reader and Ferguson for a total of 12 years.

The investigation was in partnership with the FSA and Essex Police. The assets of all four criminals have been restrained and confiscation proceedings are now underway.

SOCA’s Brendan Foreman said: “Warren Dunton and a network of facilitators deliberately abused the system for their own gain. Despite these custodial sentences SOCA will continue its investigations until the illicit profits gained from this criminal activity have been recovered.”

Financial Services Authority’s Head of Financial Crime and Intelligence, Bob Ferguson, said: "This is a good example of agencies working together to get justice done, and of the benefits that come from sharing intelligence. The FSA Intelligence Team worked closely with SOCA in the early stages of this investigation to help ensure a successful conclusion. This is not the first time and certainly will not be the last time that the FSA helps law enforcement." 

CPS’ Head of Organised Crime Division, Alun Milford, said: “This case represented the first use of the Attorney General’s guidelines on plea discussions in cases of serious or complex fraud. It allowed us to secure an early guilty plea from Sanham which reflected the true extent of his criminality without the need to call witnesses at a trial. 

“His early guilty plea helped us also in the subsequent prosecution of his co-defendants. We will continue to look for innovative ways to prosecute organised criminals like these defendants.”


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