West One Loans fraudster was on astl register

West One Loans fraudster was on astl register


B&C has discovered that in the on-going high court action involving bridging lender West One Loans, in which an investor is suing the lender for losses suffered in syndicating an advance which looks irrecoverable and without security, the 'applicant' and fraudulent activity was in fact already listed on the Association of Short Term Lenders’ (astl) Information Register at the time of advance, a resource available to West One Loans.

It has also materialised that the person who submitted the listing in the name of a Mr Barbini to the Information Register was Anita Kirkbright - who is currently Operations Manager at West One Loans - whilst she worked as Head of Operations for Tiuta Plc.

Furthermore, West One Loans is a member of the astl and the lender’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Abrahams, is part of the trade body’s executive committee at present.  

Timeline of events:

- On 28th March 2011 details of a ‘Massimo Barbini’ were submitted by Ms Kirkbright to the astl Information Register following an incident at Tiuta Plc on 25th March 2011. 'Mr Barbini' was flagged for a “Fraudulent Passport”. Details of a property located in Fulham were also given.

- On 31st March 2011 the ‘Massimo Barbini’ entry was added to the astl Information Register.

- On 19th April 2011 the investor, Nick Clarke of Salkeld Investments, agreed to invest £235,000 into a syndicate investment to Mr Barbini, secured against the Fulham Property.

- On 21st April 2011 the full loan amount of £570,000, which included Mr Clarke’s £235,000 investment, was transferred to the lender’s solicitors who advanced the sum to the Applicant . As security for the loan, West One Loans was to register a charge against the Fulham property which had an open market valuation of £950,000.

- A subsequent attempt by West One Loans to register a charge over the property was rejected by HM Land Registry on the basis that the Applicant  was not in fact the true owner.

The astl Information Register is designed to alert members to anything that may be untoward and available for lenders to check their applications against.

Anita Kirkbright submitted the report to the register when she worked as Head of Operations for short term lender Tiuta Plc after an incident involving the fraudster on 25th March 2011; she joined West One Loans four months later in July 2011 as Operations Manager.

The listing alerts lenders to the borrower’s use of a fraudulent passport and a security address with an incorrect postcode. 

B&C asked Benson Hersch, Chief Executive Officer of astl, to tell us a little more about the Information Register. He said: “The intention of the astl Information Register is to alert members to anything that may be untoward so that they are aware of anything that may be happening in the marketplace. Often fraudsters will target a few lenders with similar deals so this database helps to prevent this from happening. Lenders are always urged to check and contribute towards the register.”



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    It was common practice at Tiuta to land registry search the intended security address so I am surprised this was not adopted at West One. This would have highlighted the fact that the property was not owned by the borrower and would have flagged the problem, well in advance. Perhaps Tiuta was a more robust organisation than the industry gives it credit for?

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    So lets get this absolutely correct. West One refuse to refund their investor, having made a loan to a known fraudster, who is known to the ASTL, and West One sit on the executive committee of that same ASTL with full access to its database. Then it turns out that West One's own employee whilst at Tiuta, put the guy on the fraud register in the first place? Im sorry but you simply could not make this up! Who ARE these guys?

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