Beds, Herts & Bucks

Luton legal executive Shah jailed for mortgage fraud

A legal executive has been jailed for five years for her part in a £1.25m fraud involving bogus mortgage applications.

Humaira Shah, 46, of Wardown Crescent, Luton, submitted the applications to a string of lenders.

At Luton Crown Court on Friday she was convicted of six offences of fraud and 11 counts of converting criminal property.

The court heard Shah attempted to defraud lenders out of nearly £3m.

By the time police moved in £1.25m had already been obtained.

Shah, a mother of three, was part of an organised crime network and had been recruited because of her position as a property conveyancer, the court heard.

'Mr Big'

The jury was told she had made arrangements to start a new life in Liberia and had opened a bank account and started a new company there.

She had been struck off as a legal executive in October 2009 for other offences.

The court heard the "Mr Big" behind the fraud was businessman Zyed Zeeshan Maroof, who is thought to have fled the country with much of the money.

The money had been paid into bank accounts and then quickly withdrawn or transferred.

Judge Michael Kay was told that £1m was still outstanding.

In 2008 Shah had opened two law firms, S&S Solicitors and Huma Law which operated from the same address in Cardiff Street, Luton.

Jonathan Kirk QC, prosecuting, said: "She used the respectability of her profession in an attempt to defraud mortgage companies of nearly £3m."

'Honesty and integrity'

Shah was also found guilty of acts intending to pervert the course of public justice relating to a bogus immigration application.

Also in the dock was Syed Mohammed Kamran, 44, of Eton Road, Ilford.

Kamran, Maroof's brother, was convicted of two offences of converting criminal property and jailed for nine months.

He was said to have received £62,000 from the frauds.

Shah denied all charges and was found guilty by the jury. The court was told others had corrupted Shah and she had made only a relatively small amount from her crimes.

The court heard she is suffering from depression.

Sentencing Shah, the judge told her: "The structure of buying properties on mortgage depends on the honesty and integrity of conveyancers."

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