Ex-broker gets 2yr jail sentence

Sam Cordon

July 16, 2013

Michael Joseph James Lewis was sentenced to two years in prison at Maidstone Crown Court on Friday for two counts of making/supplying documentation for use in fraud and ten counts of carrying on a mortgage advisory business despite being prohibited from doing so.

Lewis had pleaded guilty to these matters on 14th June 2013 at an earlier hearing.

Tracey McDermott, FCA director of enforcement and financial crime, said: “This two year jail sentence should serve as a clear signal to anyone who might be tempted to do the same.

“Where we take the step of banning someone because of the risk they pose to consumers we expect them to comply with that.

“Where they do not do so they will face the most serious consequences. This fully deserved two year jail sentence shows just how much his arrogance has cost him.”

In his earlier trial the court heard how former-mortgage advisor Lewis had knowingly falsified employment and income details in respect of mortgage applicants in a dishonest attempt to deceive lenders into advancing mortgages.

In earlier regulatory proceedings brought by the FCA’s predecessor the Financial Services Authority, in 2011 Lewis had already been banned from advising on mortgages and fined £106,000 for mortgage fraud.

The FCA decided to take additional criminal action against him when it became clear that Lewis had simply ignored his prohibition notice and was continuing to advise clients.

The FCA discovered that Lewis had been unlawfully providing mortgage advice to consumers right up until his arrest on 24 October 2012.

During the sentencing hearing His Honour Judge Byers said: “Some of the people [Lewis] advised were vulnerable” and that his actions could potentially have made their lives “a lot worse” due to them obtaining mortgages that they simply would not have the financial means to repay.

The Judge stated that: “The public rightly expect people of your status to be of the highest integrity” and that in those circumstances only a prison sentence was appropriate.

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