Fincorp fell victim to £1.2m fraud in 2014

Ryan Bembridge

January 6, 2017

Bridging lender Fincorp was allegedly duped into providing a £1.2m bridging loan to a mother and daughter in mid-2014, Southwark crown court has heard.

As the Evening Standard reports, mother and daughter Dianne Moorcroft and Laylah De Cruz are accused of convincing solicitors, estate agents and the lender that the mother owned a £3m Kensington house.

Moorcroft changed her name by deed poll to Margaret Gwenllian Richards to make it identical to the homes actual owner, who lives in Cambridge and was renting out the house. And after securing documents including a UK passport Finance and Credit Corporation, also known as Fincorp, was convinced enough to hand over the £1.2m, the court heard.

Though the Land Registry cottoned on to the fraud a few days after the loan was issued it was quickly withdrawn as cash in Dubai, the court heard.

De Cruz and Moorcroft are standing trial accused of conspiring with others to carry out the fraud.

Prosecutor Teresa Hay said: “The fraud was as simple as it was audacious. Dianne Moorcroft changed her name by deed poll in summer 2014 solely for the purpose of participating in this fraud.

“She was encouraged and supported in the endeavour by her daughter Laylah De Cruz.”

She added: “The efforts of the others could never have even taken shape in the absence of a female participant willing and able to represent herself to the solicitor as the rightful owner of the property.

“Without a public face of the fraud to go along to the solicitor and say, ‘I am Margaret Gwenllian Richards’, the scheme could never have got off the ground.

“And Ms Moorcroft herself wouldn’t have been involved in the scheme were it not for the intervention and encouragement of her daughter.”

De Cruz, who lives in Dubai, and Moorcroft deny conspiracy to commit fraud while Moorcroft denies possession of an identity document with improper intention.

Elio Astone, managing director of Fincorp, who was appointed last summer, said: “Our underwriting standards have been significantly enhanced subsequent to my appointment and the chance of this happening again is remote at best.”

The trial continues.

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