Couple guilty in 24-count mortgage fraud

Couple guilty in 24-count mortgage fraud




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A couple who embarked on a life of luxury in a six-year fraud, totalling 24 offences of mortgage fraud, have been jailed.

Mohammed Arfan, 39, and his 41-year old wife Riffit told authorities they earned just £5,000 in order to claim £100,000 in tax credits, but they also told banks they earned £100,000 in order to fraudulently claim a string of mortgage loans.

Their fraudulent activity amounted to £700,000-worth and they backed up their dishonesty with false references and 24 different bank accounts in order to secure loans to buy businesses, cars and houses.

The couple lived in a neat £200,000 semi-detached house in a cul-de-sac in Bury, Greater Manchester and Riffit set up her own fashion business.

They owned two homes, two businesses and drove a Range Rover Sport worth £62,000 and a £38,000 BMW X5.

Their six-year fraud came to an end in 2010 after Mohammed Arfan was arrested and charged with dealing drugs at his off licence in Stretford, which is when Police began investigating the couple's finances and during a two year inquiry discovered they were living a life “well beyond their means,” the Mail Online revealed.

The two houses had been bought as a result of multiple false mortgage applications and Riffit was also found to have obtained a false mortgage to buy her fashion shop, Sahil Fashions, whilst the couple were claiming tax credits and other significant benefits.

She failed to declare the shop to the authorities and even moved a tenant into the flat above in order to illegally pocket housing benefits.

After the case Ian Horrocks, Financial Investigator from GMP's Serious Crime Division said: “The Arfans' were living a lifestyle and driving around in cars that many honest hard-working people can only dream of.

“This couple tried to hide their criminal dishonesty behind a tangled web of 24 bank accounts. However, we were able to unpick their finances and discover exactly what money they had been spending.”

Bolton Crown Court heard the applications were dishonestly filled out by the couple to obtain mortgages, loans and state benefits between 2003 and 2009.

It emerged Mohammed had claimed to earn just £5,000 a year from his shop to obtain £77,000 benefits only to then falsely say his annual wage was £72,000 to win mortgage loans.

He was granted a loan of £15,000 after giving false references along with his wife and another loan for £38,000 to buy the BMW X5 before converting that to successfully applying to a building society for a mortgage of £174,000.

He then used that money to buy a property in Bury, which was later used to run his cannabis farm.

His wife successfully applied for a loan for £93,500, giving a dishonest annual income of £35,000 then used it to buy another property in Bury, from which she set up a fashion outlet.

However, she never declared any income to the DWP and sold the property, making a profit.

The couple also jointly applied for a loan to re-mortgage their property - for around £76,000. They acquired the Range Rover through hire purchase.

Passing sentence on Thursday 19th April Judge Martin Allweis told the couple: “This was a persistent and sophisticated dishonesty to bolster your income and assets over a period of six years or so.

“You left no stone unturned. You falsely obtained benefits, cheating the public and finance companies by falsely declaring income,” reported the Mail Online.

Mohammed Arfan was sentenced to a three year jail sentence after pleading guilty to 15 offences of mortgage fraud, false accounting, money laundering and fraudulent activity to obtain tax credits.

Riffit, who pleaded guilty to nine offences of mortgage fraud, false accounting, money laundering and acquiring criminal property, was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years.

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