Wednesday 27 January 2010

Conveyancing Solicitors probed by SRA over mortgage fraud

According to the Financial Times today over 100 law firms suspected of mortgage fraud were investigated in 2009 as part of a crackdown on rogue solicitors resulting in increased interventions.

The figures just released by the Solicitors Regulation Authority reveals that the completed 106 investigations into firms where there was suspected misconduct in relation to mortgages or property.

Of these One Hundred and Six practices, 22 were permanently closed down. Twenty four cases have been referred to the police for investigation, and 30 cases have been referred by the SRA to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, which has the power to strike off solicitors.

The FT comments “There has been concern about rising levels of property fraud with the SRA’s own figures showing an increase in reports of suspected property fraud involving solicitors up from 85 cases in 2005 to 400 in 2009.”

In the 1980’s property fraudsters used corrupt or incompetent solicitors to help them carry out property fraud and it now seems that history is repeating itself. Mortgage fraud continued its steady rise in 2009. There were 31 cases worth £77 million in the year, compared to ten cases worth just £3.7 million in 2007 and 25 cases worth an estimated £36 million in 2008.

For the full story click here

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