Leo Kusi-Appiah, 42 of Digswell Road, Welwyn Garden City was caught by officers after fraudulently avoiding speeding offences. He received the prison term at St Albans Crown Court on Friday, January 16, which was sitting at St Albans Magistrates Court. He had pleaded guilty to the offence of obtaining property by deception at a hearing at St Albans Crown Court last year.
Kusi-Appiah provided false information regarding his identity and income to mortgage companies to obtain mortgages, which allowed him to set up three letting companies. With the money he purchased 15 properties across the UK including Hertfordshire, London, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, and Luton. It has been estimated the value of the deception was around £1.6 million.
Kusi-Appiah also pleaded guilty to contempt of court, after breaking the Crown Court’s restraint order to access £25,000 of the restrained property.
Kusi-Appiah also used the addresses of his properties to avoid prosecution for speeding offences. He and his wife, Tracey Kusi-Appiah, 40 of Digswell Road, Welwyn Garden City were found guilty of perverting the course of justice at a hearing at St Albans Crown Court last year.
Mrs Kusi-Appiah received a 26 week sentence, suspended for a year, and ordered to carry out 50 hours of community service.
In total, Mr Kusi-Appiah was sentenced to a total of four years and nine months in prison, made up of two years three months for perverting the course of justice, two years for obtaining property by deception and six months for contempt of court. The sentences are to run consecutively.
Detective Sergeant Roy Stammers of the Central Area Money Laundering Unit said: “This was a complex and detailed investigation that allowed us to use our powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act to bring a criminal to justice whose lies allowed him to build up a vast property empire. I am pleased with this result as it demonstrates that anyone who is determined to lie to mortgage companies regarding their identity or financial status can expect a prison term.”
Roy continued, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the officers involved in this case for their continued hard work and support.”
Hertfordshire Constabulary is now looking to seize the properties under the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002).
Update on Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 10:07AM by Registered CommenterThe Editor – Ian Shuter – ACFE, DMS
In the following press release The Financial Services Authority announced that on February 16, 2009 it published a Final Notice banning mortgage broker Leo Kusi-Appiah, who was recently jailed after pleading guilty at St Albans Crown Court to obtaining property by deception in connection with mortgage fraud.
The FSA found that Mr Kusi-Appiah, who traded as Oxford House Financial Services [Final Notice] in North London, submitted fraudulent mortgage applications in his own name, in his wife’s name, and in the name of a fictitious person called Kwadjo Amoteng, whose identity Mr Kusi-Appiah created.
Mr Kusi-Appiah also made false and misleading statements to the FSA about hisbusiness arrangements, and he failed to disclose in his application for authorisation that he had been the subject of two County Court Judgments.
The FSA banned Mr Kusi-Appiah nearly two years ago but publication of the Final Notice had, for legal reasons, to await the outcome of the court case.
Margaret Cole, FSA director of enforcement, said:
“This is one of the more serious mortgage fraud cases we have come across since mortgage regulation began four years ago. It was one of the first mortgage broker cases that we decided to investigate back in 2005. FSA staff worked closely with Hertfordshire Constabulary, to avoid tipping off Mr Kusi-Appiah, and the FSA and police investigations were conducted in parallel.
“We continue to work with police forces and other law enforcement agencies in the nationwide crackdown on mortgage fraud, and I expect to see more prosecutions of this kind and confiscation of assets in coming months and years.”