Glasgow & West Scotland

Three people jailed over substantial BoS mortgage fraud

Three people have been jailed for substantial mortgage frauds against the Bank of Scotland.

William O'Neil, 47, a former manager of artist Peter Howson, was jailed for four years and six months.

His sister, Deborah Hayburn, 49, was given two years and his partner, Denise McNeil, 43, was jailed for three years.

The frauds involved property purchases in East Dunbartonshire and Glasgow. All three now face confiscation proceedings under proceeds of crime laws.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard that between January and September 2002, O'Neil defrauded the bank of a £78,500 mortgage in order to purchase a property in Ruchill, Glasgow.

Drug dealer

He had falsely claimed that he was living in Glasgow and earning a salary of £32,000, working as a warehouse manager with Indowoods Limited, importing and selling fine Indonesian furniture.

He was in fact a prisoner in HMP Glenochil, serving part of a seven year sentence for being involved in the supply of drugs.

Between September and November 2007, Hayburn claimed to be earning a salary of £85,000, with additional income of £10,000, and successfully obtained a loan of £127,890 in order to remortgage her flat in Glasgow.

She was in fact earning just under £23,000 as a carer for Glasgow City Council, with an investment income from rental of her flat of £7,500.

By 30 November 2007, O'Neil had sold the flat in Ruchill, and Hayburn had sold the flat in Glasgow.

Both laundered the proceeds of these sales by transferring the money to McNeil in the knowledge that the money which they transferred was criminal property.

She received £107,751 from O'Neil, and £124,755.50 from Hayburn.

By 30 November 2007, McNeil had defrauded the Bank of Scotland of a £975,000 mortgage, having claimed to be the 100% owner of a Glasgow restaurant, earning £300,000 per year.

She used the funds from O'Neil and Hayburn, as well as this mortgage and approximately £240,000 from the sale of a property she owned, to purchase a property in Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire.

Passing sentence, Sheriff Sam Cathcart said prison was the only option due to the "gravity of the offences".

Profits seized

Speaking afterwards, Lindsey Miller, head of the Serious Organised Crime Division for the Crown Office, said: "O'Neil, Hayburn and McNeil set out with one aim in mind - to help themselves to hundreds of thousands of pounds of other people's money.

"Not only do they now face years behind bars, but the Crown has also launched confiscation proceedings against all three to ensure that the profits from their criminal enterprise are taken back from them."

Father-of-two O'Neil was arrested in 2001 and later jailed for seven years after being caught with £250,000 of heroin.

He founded Art & Soul Glasgow shortly after his release in 2007.

Based on the city's Buchanan Street, Art & Soul began selling artist Peter Howson's work.

O'Neil was later accused of defrauding the artist.

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