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18 July 2013, 13:28 | Updated: 18 July 2013, 13:31
Five people have been handed lengthy prison sentences for an organised mortgage fraud totalling £3.6 million that was carried out over a 9-year period in Dorset.
A total of 17 houses were purchased by the group with mortgage advances which were obtained through forged utility bills, passports, payslips and business accounts.
The lenders, Northern Rock and HBOS, were told exaggerated and untrue purchase prices of properties. The cash received through the banks’ ‘over lending’ was split between the offenders.
Dorset Police began their investigation back in May 2008 as a result of a complaint from a solicitor, where it was suspected that fraudulent mortgages were being obtained over a two-year period which began in 2004.
Mortgage brokers Alex Chiswell, 33 and from Hampshire, and 41-year-old Colin Zaczyk from Bournemouth were believed to be responsible.
On Tuesday 31 March 2009, Chiswell was arrested and bailed along with 56-year-old Nicholas Ian Sweet from Bournemouth and a 32-year-old woman from Wimborne.
As a result of further enquiries it was discovered that 61-year-old Dermot O’Malley Keyes, an unemployed Bournemouth man, and his wife Madeleine, aged 60, obtained over £800,000 and £480,000 in fraudulent mortgage advances dating back to 2003.
This in turn led Dorset Police to the arrests of two Bournemouth men, aged 52 and 47, as well as a 39-year-old Hampshire man.
On Tuesday 17 May 2011 all of those involved were charged and appeared at Bristol Magistrates Court a week later.
Finally, on Wednesday 12 June 2013 a jury convicted Chiswell, Zaczyk, and Dermot and Madeleine O’Malley Keyes’. Sweet had previously pleaded guilty.
On Friday 12 July 2013, they appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court for sentencing.
Alex Chiswell was handed a four year prison term, Colin Zaczyk and Nicholas Sweet were given two-and-a-half years.
Dermot O’Malley Keyes will serve two years and his wife Madeleine 18 months.
Paul Sullivan, of the Dorset Police Fraud Investigation Team, said:
“This was a long and in-depth investigation into an organised group who abused the system for their own financial gain.
“I feel the sentences handed down reflect the serious nature of their actions.
“It also shows that Dorset Police and the courts will deal with these types of offences very stringently, regardless of the time period they were committed.”
Suspended sentences were handed out to four of those involved.
A 52-year-old Bournemouth man and a 32-year-old Wimborne woman were handed 12 and 14 months, both of which have been suspended for two years.
A 39-year-old Hampshire man and 47-year-old Bournemouth man will serve seven months each, with these prison terms being suspended for 12 months.