Law firm partner among three on trial for alleged £2.5m mortgage fraud (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Law firm partner among three on trial for alleged £2.5m mortgage fraud
A PARTNER in a North-East law firm is among three people on trial for an alleged £2.5m mortgage fraud.
Middlesbrough solicitor Desmond McCarthy is said to have played a pivotal role in the property scam.
The others in the dock at Teesside Crown Court are Jason Omar, 41, and 54-year-old broker Paul Bradwell.
A fourth person, mother-of-three Angelique Huggett, 44, has admitted the charge of conspiracy to defraud.
It is said Huggett and Mr Omar used Mr Bradwell and Mr McCarthy as they built up huge property portfolios.
A jury heard today (March 5) that false details about income, home values and previous convictions were given.
Mr Omar claims he was let down by the professionals he dealt with and did not check the applications.
Mr Bradwell told police he had been "duped and used" by Huggett and Mr Omar throughout 2007 and 2008.
Mr McCarthy, 69 - who is known as Paddy - admitted he may have been negligent, but was never criminal.
He told detectives that he was under huge pressure at work and wrongly did not check closely the applications.
Prosecutor, Simon Myers, told the jury that the scam would not have worked without the help of the two professionals.
Both men signed off documents which contained false information to help Mr Omar and Huggett get buy-to-let homes.
In some cases, it is said they helped the pair "flip" properties and remortgage them before they owned them.
It is also alleged that the two developers got loans for significantly more than the houses were worth - and pocketed the difference.
Mr Myers said both Huggett, from Thornaby, near Stockton, and Mr Omar, from Middesbrough, made £250,000 this way.
On some applications, both claimed to be sole traders and the owners of Princess Limousines - a car hire, recruitment, or property business.
The salaries they claimed to earn - sometimes as much as £110,000 - were vastly different from what they declared to the taxman.
Mr Myers said the role played by Mr McCarthy and Mr Bradwell was "essential" for Mr Omar and Huggett to get away with it.
Mr Omar is said to have fraudulently bought properties worth £1.5m and Huggett got houses worth in the region of £1m.
"They were obtaining mortgages with the help of two professional people and the Crown says all the parties in this case were, essentially, dishonest," Mr Myers said.
"If Mr McCarthy and Mr Bradwell had done their job, this could not have happened, say the Crown. They are the safeguard for the banks and building societies."
Mr McCarthy, of Anchorage Mews, Thornaby, Mr Bradwell, of Meadowgate Drive, Hartlepool, and Mr Omar, of Church Lane, Ormesby, deny conspiracy to commit fraud.
The trial, which is expected to last four weeks, will continue today.