Britain bans PIO for mortgage fraud

The 36-year-old Tewari will not be able to work in the regulated financial services sector for her involvement in the mortgage fraud, FSA sources said. After an inquiry, the watchdog found her lacking in honesty and integrity.

"Tewari used different mortgage intermediaries to submit two applications in her own name containing false income information. In one instance, she inflated her earnings by 300 per cent from a basic 23,000 pound to a gross income claimed of 92,000 pound", the FSA said.

Soon after FSA’s action against Tewari, a report by consultants FPMG revealed that mortgage fraud in Britain had quadrupled in the first six months of 2010, with incidents of deception reaching a 22-year high.

Hitesh Patel, a partner at KPMG Forensic, said "the fact is that an increasing amount of mortgage frauds is being prosecuted is cold comfort for the financial services industry. It is highly probable that the issue is far bigger than our figures demonstrate."

Following an investigation into Tewari’s actions, FSA said, "having regard to the facts and matters set out above and having considered your representations, the FSA finds that your behaviour demonstrates that you lacked honesty and integrity.

"You are therefore not a fit and proper person to perform any functions in relation to regulated activities. We conclude that you pose a serious risk to lenders and to confidence in the financial system."

According to the KPMG Fraud Barometer, which collates serious cases of fraud concerning sums in excess of 100,000 pound in British courts, there were 166 cases of such frauds in the first half of this year. This is the highest number of cases in a six-month period in the 22-year history of the barometer.

London and Southeast England remain the biggest hotspot for mortgage fraudsters - the region accounts for over half of the total cases, which totals up 493 million pounds by value.

PMG’s Patel said, "while interest rates remain low, it unsurprising that investors who are looking for new ways to grow their capital, remain susceptible to being targeted by fraudsters. At the same time, professional criminals show themselves to be highly adaptable and always looking for new scams.

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