South West Wales

Gang involved in £5m mortgage fraud given jail sentences

Ben Pickering, Paul John and Mark Cainen Image copyright South Wales Police
Image caption Pickering, Cainen and John also invented land disputes to drive down the cost of houses in order to buy them cheaply

A gang of people who carried out an "audacious" mortgage fraud worth more than £5m have been jailed.

Ben Pickering, 35, Mark Cainen, 44, Paul John, 44, and Emma Davey, 34, got mortgages using fake identities.

They were all convicted of conspiracy to defraud at Swansea Crown Court.

Pickering was jailed for six years, Cainen for eight years and John for three years and four months. Davey was given 12 months suspended for two years and 200 hours unpaid work.

Pickering, a film producer who was once a prospective Conservative party candidate for the Swansea West parliamentary seat, worked with Cainen, from West Cross in Swansea, to make the fraudulent applications using fake names and forged financial documents.

'Greed'

They also changed their names by deed poll as part of the swindle.

Large numbers of properties in Swansea and Ammanford were bought during the eight-year conspiracy.

John, a Swansea-based financial advisor, used his position to put the applications forward and estate agent Davey, of Rhydargaeau, Carmarthenshire, assisted.

Judge Keith Thomas said: "These offences were fuelled not by economic necessity, but by greed."

Speaking after the sentencing, Catrin Evans, head of the Crown Prosecution Service's Complex Casework Unit for Wales, said: "These four defendants were involved in an audacious, systematic and very large scale financial fraud, committed over a prolonged period.

"The scale and complexity of their dishonesty was considerable.

"Two defendants used a variety of names and used their own companies to facilitate the fraud. Numerous documents were falsified in order to create a web of deceit.

"The group's activities were undone by meticulous and professional work by expert financial investigators, working in tandem with specialist complex casework lawyers.

Together, they painstakingly pieced together the prosecution case against Mark Cainen, Paul John, Emma Davey and Ben Pickering. All four have now rightly been held to account for their actions."

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