Family jailed in property theft using internet to alter land records.

A businessman who masterminded an £800,000 mortgage scam has been jailed for 11 years. Accountant and financial adviser Rashid Farid ran a sophisticated con using the internet to alter Land Registry records and obtain mortgages or remortgages on properties, netting £787,050.

During a nine-week trial at Bradford Crown Court a jury heard money paid out by Birmingham Midshires and the Mortgage Business, which were both part of the Halifax Bank of Scotland, was then laundered through other people’s accounts and large sums were sent to Pakistan.

Prosecutor Tom Storey said legitimate householders then had to spend significant time and money persuading the Land Registry to put properties back into their names.

Farid, 30, of Lemans Drive, Batley, was a registered mortgage broker for Lifestyle Mortgages (Kirklees) in Daisy Hill, Dewsbury. His barrister Jonathan Mann accepted there had been victims of the fraud.

Mr Mann said: “Mr Farid was a successful businessman before committing these offences,” adding that his client did not need the cash or have a lavish lifestyle. “The root cause of the offending was more to do with the intellectual challenge of beating the system,” said Mr Mann.

Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC called for an urgent review of the Land Registry Act which provided “a gaping opportunity” for the offences to be committed.

Farid used details of other people without them knowing or altered information held by the Land Registry to apply for the mortgages. He was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, perverting the course of justice and transferring criminal property.

He was jailed with his brother Mohammed Jahangir Farid, 26, and his father Mohammed Farid, 53, also of Lemans Drive. They were both convicted of a money-laundering offence and jailed for four years and two years respectively.

The judge told Rashid Farid he had destroyed his family by involving them in the deceit, which happened between March 2006 and October 20

He added: “This was an utterly sophisticated, meticulously organised crime.”

Two other men who admitted an involvement and money-laundering, Mohammed Rafiq, 50, of Queens Road, Halifax, and Mohammed Ali, 42, of All Saints Court, Keighley, were jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Imran Hussain, 31, of Burley Road, Leeds, and another man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also received three-and-a-half-year jail terms after being found guilty of money laundering.

Five other men were cleared of any involvement: Javed Iqbal, 43, of Wigan; Nadim Farid, 29, of Lemans Drive, Batley; Ihsan Meer, 45, of West Park Street, Dewsbury; Attif Ashraf, 31, of Brander Close, Bradford and Wasim Nazir, 31, of Moorend Lane, Dewsbury.

The Crown Prosecution Service and its counsel worked with a specialist team from the Metropolitan Police, who uncovered the scam as part of a wider investigation into theft and money laundering.

After Tuesday’s sentencing CPS prosecutor Julian Briggs said the complexity of the case had taken 18 months to unravel and it was believed the cash was invested in property overseas.

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