Fraudster ordered to pay £70k or face jail

Manchester Crown Court
Manchester Crown Court

A mortgage fraudster has been ordered to pay back his ill-gotten gains.

Following a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing held at Manchester Crown Court, 39-year-old Leon Atkinson must fork out £71,731 within three months or face prison.

He had previously pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud and money laundering and given a 15-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 200 hours’ community service.

In November 2011 Atkinson, of Brindley Close, applied for a mortgage to buy a property on Fairfield Road, Droylsden for £93,000 which would see the bank loan him £69,750 with the remaining funds to be made up from his personal savings.

The purchase of the property went through in May 2012. Atkinson subsequently let the property and received rental income.

Following an investigation by the GMP Economic Crime Team it was found he had applied for the mortgage using falsified wage slips and did not disclose additional funds that he was earning and so evading paying tax.

It was also found that the money he had claimed was “personal savings” had actually been deposited into his bank account by an associate.

Det Con Mark Chesters of GMP’s Financial Investigation Unit said: “Leon Atkinson abused a system that is in place to help genuine home owners secure their place on the property market. He was deceitful and lied about his finances. He then was able to let the property and received tainted rental income which was an income he received as a direct result of committing the crime.

“He was given a suspended prison sentence but our investigation did not end there. Enquiries continued in order to strip him of the proceeds of his criminal activities.

“The court ordered Atkinson to pay more than £70,000 within three months or face a prison sentence. I hope today’s hearing sends a clear message that GMP is not only determined to prosecute offenders but is also determined to strip them of their ill-gotten gains.”