INDUSTRY NEWS

Lawyers face property fraud investigation

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is investigating up to 60 lawyers after an increasing number of reports about fraudulent practice were made, Bloomberg has reported.

The authority said claims have risen from 85 in 2004, to 293 last year. The scale of the problem was confirmed by the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo).

Mike Bowron, lead on economic crime and commissioner of the city of London police, said criminals have taken to mortgage fraud because there was a low chance of detection.

"Organised mortgage fraud can take many forms and while difficult to measure accurately, it remains a significant element of the UK’s annual fraud losses," he said.

An Acpo report has found that surveyors, mortgage brokers and solicitors were all involved in fraudulent behaviour.

In some cases, the value of commercial property had been inflated by fraudulent lease contracts or solicitors who had deliberately over-valued properties.

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