£3 Million Property Scam in Court

Posted: 7/1/2017

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A mother and daughter were part of a plot to sell a £3m house in Kensington, London, a court has heard.

Model, Laylah De Cruz, 31, enlisted her mother Dianne Moorcroft, 62, to pose as the elderly owner of the property, fooling solicitors and estate agents into believing she was selling up to move to Dubai.

Moorcroft, of Blackpool, changed her name by deed poll to that of Margaret Gwenllian Richards – the real name of the property’s 85-year-old rightful owner.

She allegedly secured a UK passport and Dubai residency permit in Mrs Richards’ name.

A £1.2m bridging loan was then arranged with Finance and Credit Corporation which transferred the money to a bank account in Dubai.

The Land Registry flagged the deal as a possible fraud, but the money had already been withdrawn before investigators had a chance to intervene.

Prosecuting, Teresa Hay said the fraud was “as simple as it was audacious”.

The property’s owner lives in Cambridge. The house had been empty but in August 2014 was rented by a Mark Armstrong, who went to a solicitor claiming to represent Mrs Richards, and saying she was looking to sell and move to Dubai.

In October that year, Moorcroft emailed the solicitor to say she was applying for a bridging loan to release equity, rather than wait for a buyer to be found.

De Cruz and Moorcroft are standing trial accused of conspiring with others to carry out the fraud in mid-2014. They deny the charge, and the trial continues.

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