Thursday, September 24, 2009

Why is Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council involved with such a developer?

Today, I was given access to the full story about the headline I posted involving Persimmon and the mortgage fraud case currently taking place in Southwark Crown Court in London. I have copied and pasted the story below. Read it and be amazed and ask yourself the question why is Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council involved to such a large extent with Persimmon homes PLC?

For me, suddenly a lot of the unanswered questions that I posed a couple of days ago, make a lot more sense. Here is the article in full...

Full Report –
September 18, 2009


One of Britain's biggest home builders was 'instrumental' in a multi million pound mortgage fraud, a court heard.A gang of conmen made profits of £3.5m when they bought a brand new block of flats from Persimmon Homes and sold on the properties for huge mark-ups, it is claimed.

Persimmon Homes was involved in inflating the prices but police do not have the resources to investigate the company, Southwark Crown Court heard.
Prosecutors say the fraudsters recruited dozens of dupes to apply for fraudulent mortgages, promising them they could move into the luxury apartments for nothing.

Gang members even waited at a supermarket checkout to entice potential buyers into the scam as they paid for their groceries.

The fraudsters then used a network of crooked mortgage brokers and accountants to create fake financial histories for the applicants, jurors heard.
In total, they bought and 'sold' a total of 84 flats in the Hill House block in Thamesmead, se London, making profits of £3.5m.

Mastermind Alim Barrie then fled abroad with much of the cash, and has not been seen since.His cousins Mohammed, 39, and Muctaru Barrie, 29, are in the dock at Southwark Crown Court alongside mortgage valuers Brad Fisher, 44, George Sourou, 43, and Sofiya Ahmed, 28, accountant Dean Dairo, 48, and 45-year-old solicitor Okwuchukwu Izuchukwu.

Another Barrie brother, Umaru, also fled the country while on bail.
Prosecutor Richard Mandel said: 'In order to sell 84 flats, a major recruiting drive for buyers was needed. It had to be done outside the ordinary legitimate market. 'Parties were fertile ground. In one instance, the buyer was recruited in a supermarket queue, waiting to pay for his groceries at the till.
'The recruiters were Alim himself and also, directly or indirectly, Umaru and Mohammed Barrie, who must have been well aware of the fraudulent nature of the scheme.

'The recruitment drive by and through the three men was fabulously successful: Atrex sold all 84 flats in the space of five months between May and October 2006.'And no wonder. To become the owner of a brand-new flat at no cost: who can resist the call of such magic?'Once the buyers were recruited, new work histories were created for them to enable them to get mortgages.

Accountant Stuart Joseph, 43, has admitted inventing financial references for fraudulent mortgage applicants, the court heard.Mr Mandel told the court that staff at Persimmon helped to create creating inflated valuations for the flats so that mortgage lenders would part with more cash.

Although the flats were being sold by Barry's firm Atrex - a shell company with no assets and no bank accounts, surveyors were given the impression that they were being sold directly to individual buyers by Persimmon.

Mr Mandel said: 'Valuers would have no reason to doubt the false information they were given. After all, Hill House was visibly a new block, and Persimmon did have a sales organisation that sold flats individually to members of the public.'With the false valuation in place, the fraudulent package to the lender would be complete. A mortgage in the sum requested would not be long in coming.'

But the barrister said it had not been possible to investigate Persimmon staff members' possible connection with the fraud because of a lack of police resources.He said: 'It follows that Persimmon staff were instrumental in the generation of false valuations by surveyors, and therefore instrumental in the operation of the fraud.

'Were Persimmon staff complicit?

'If they were not complicit, but unknowingly providing false information on instructions, from whom did those instructions come?
'Given the size of Persimmon, the answers to these questions, and others about the possible involvement of Persimmon employees in the fraud, would require a huge police investigation. For reasons already touched on, there has been no such investigation.'The court heard Atrex bought the fats from Persimmon for £15.25m and sold them for £18.75m - a profit of £3.5m.

Persimmon makes over 10,000 homes a year in the UK.

Mohammed Barrie, of (78) Pinewood Ave, Dartford, Kent; Izuchukwu, of (139) Earlham Grove, Forest Gate, East London; Ahmed, of (153) Howard Road, Walthamstow, East London; Dairo, of (20) Eastern Ave, South Ockendon, Essex; Fisher, of (33) Tiptree Crescent, Ilford, Essex; and Sourou, of (21) The Crescent, Ilford, Essex deny conspiracy to defraud mortgage lenders between October 1, 2005 and November 1, 2006.
Muctaru Barrie, also of (78) Pinewood Place, Mohammed Barrie and Izuchukwu deny conspiracy to launder criminal property.
Joseph, of (4) Furham Field, Pinner, Middlesex, has admitted seven specimen charges of false accounting.

The trial continues.


In court on the 24th at Sothwark Crown Court...COURT THREE: At 10am: Ongoing trial of Brad Fisher and four others for conspiracy to defraud, money laundering and false accounting. £20m mortgage fraud. Persimmon Homes director Jason Stokes giving evidence.

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