Mortgage Fraudsters’ Appeal Leads to Higher Fines

Nazia Bi and Quadeem Mohammed are banned from brokering mortgages after various instances of fraudulent selling and malpractice were unearthed and taken to trial. They were originally fined £75,000 and £25,000 respectively, but this was reduced on the grounds of financial hardship to £25,000 and £15,000. Although Ms Bi and Mr Mohammed did not dispute the findings of the FSA investigation, they decided to appeal the level of the fines in the watchdog’s Upper Tribunal. Sadly for them, a hearing found further instances of shady behaviour. One such instance was the claim by Ms Bi that she was sacked from her solicitors firm on 22 December 2009 when it emerged that she stayed with the firm until May the next year and then took another job at a different legal practice as an office manager. For his part, it emerged that Mr Mohammed had failed to disclose a number of assets that he owned in common with other family members. As a result of these new findings, the fines were increased this week to £45,000 and £25,000 respectively. The Tribunal ruled that: “the evidence we received as to the means of Qadeem Mohammed and Nazia Bi was nowhere near verifiable enough for us to make reductions of the penalties determined above on account of financial hardship. It will now be a matter between them and the FSA as to whether they can demonstrate sufficient financial hardship to enable “time-to-pay” arrangements to be made.” The FSA has vowed to take a tough line on mortgage fraudsters and has dished out several heavy fines this year, with more cases due to come before the tribunals over the next few months.