Monday, 10 November 2014

Up Close and Personal

American author, Amelia Earhart once said, “You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward” and although my six year bank battling journey has fallen a long way short of any results, there is no disputing my decision to act has rewarded me with an enlightening education.

During the course of my investigation into how my family and I became the victims of the financial crisis, I have learned,
  • Bankers intentionally flooded the market with financial products which were open to abuse in order to increase their market share and their bonus’
  •  Regulators and auditors intentionally misled us when the banks culture of greed began to implode
  •  Politicians intentionally feigned outrage and offered empty promises of redress to avert civil unrest.

 Six painful years, five lever arch files and two unsuccessful FOS complaints later I have now reached the following conclusions:
  • Both the FCA and the FOS’s allegiance lies only with the banks and not their victims
  • Austerity measures have made it nigh on impossible for the victims of banking crime to access justice
  • And the voice of the individual,  however loud,  is all but inaudible

 Still void of success in the face of mortgage broker fraud, I have taken the following action;
  • Applied for and obtained (via household legal insurance I purchased in 2005/6)  agreement to spend £50,000 with DAS Legal Services to pursue Karrek Financial Management Ltd for criminal negligence
  • Attended an SME Alliance event for what proved to be a very interesting meeting which not only gave me a great deal of insight into other banking crimes but  also provided me with the opportunity to meet other victims and access professional bank battling expertise
  • And, written the following letter summarising the criminal negligence of HBOS's panel approved mortgage broker to send along with 30 pages of evidence, to my newly appointed DAS lawyer, the Devon and Cornwall police and a barrister I met through the SME Alliance who has kindly agreed to look at my findings,

“Dear [All],

Further to our telephone conversation ...here follows an outline of my case along with supporting evidence.

In March 2006, having discussed our financial circumstances with Karrek Financial Management Ltd through whom we had previously purchased life cover, my husband was told by their mortgage advisor ****** ****** our monthly outgoings could be dramatically reduced if we agreed to switch our existing £725,000 mortgage with TMB to an interest only discounted mortgage with the Bank of Scotland and restructure our short term borrowings. He advised us to increase the debt secured against our home by firstly taking a further £65,000 by way of a Bank of Scotland further advance, secondly by making use of a £40,000 drawn down which, underwritten at outset, would be made available to us after three months of regular monthly interest payments and thirdly by taking a three month payment holiday for which we would also be eligible after making three monthly interest payments. His recommendation was to use all the additional funds raised against the remaining equity in our home to repay credit cards (see Doc 1. copy application form). Keen to alleviate his cash flow problems at a time when the terminal illness of two of his closest relatives (his mother and brother) was making it impossible to divide his time effectively between the needs of his family and the demands of his business, my husband agreed.

I have since discovered that not only is securing credit card debt against a family home a direct contravention of the Mortgage Code and financial regulations but the method the broker used to obtain this remortgage/ further advance was a blatant abuse of their position of trust and nothing short of fraudulent. Instead of advising how best to arrange our finances in the light of our circumstances, the broker’s objective appears to have been to affect a personal gain for themselves (in the form of a handsome introducer fee. (See Doc 2. Copy mortgage offer) by switching an existing mortgage and our credit card borrowings for an entirely unsuitable mortgage product which was not only unaffordable from outset but required falsified information to be used on the application form in order to obtain a Bank of Scotland mortgage offer.

  • After a financial fact finding telephone conversation with my husband, the mortgage application (which we never saw) was submitted online (see Doc 3) by the broker whom we never met using false information which was tailored to fit the Bank of Scotland’s underwriting requirements. We did not supply the information the broker wrote on the application form (see affidavit Doc. 4).
  • There were no acquisition costs to pay, neither were there solicitors or surveyors to instruct as the cost of the valuation and the conveyance, along with instructions, were either taken care of by the lender or added to the advance.
  • And, on 30 March 2006, after being told by the broker verbally (again by telephone) we had received a mortgage offer for £790,000 from the Bank of Scotland as a result of him submitting our application on line we were sent, and duly signed, the declaration page and the direct debit mandate of an otherwise blank application form followed another declaration sheet, once again without a completed application form, approximately two weeks later (see Doc. 5).

As a result of his efforts, the broker earned almost £4000 and we, unwittingly, agreed to move from a very tight corner which could have been rectified by the sale of our house, to an impossible situation amounting to tens of thousands of pounds in arrears (see arrears statement Doc 6), a £217,000 mortgage shortfall (see shortfall statement Doc 7) which occurred from the forced sale of our home in 2009 and six long years of battling with an unsympathetic bank while trying to establish precisely what happened to put us in such a position.  

Had HBOS not sent me an entirely unsolicited copy of our original application form (minus the declaration pages) by way of an explanation to some wildly inaccurate claims they were making about the original purchase price and original purchase date of our house in response to my over valuation complaint to them, I might never have discovered the fraudulent nature of the information the application form contained. After this evidence came to light in January 2013, and as a result of a complaint I then made to the Financial Ombudsman Service about overvaluation, irresponsible lending and the falsified information on our mortgage application, I was told in January 2014 after a full FOS investigation had been completed, my case should have cited the mortgage broker and not HBOS.  The FOS did not uphold my complaint as it was deemed HBOS were faultless because they were not the appointed advisors for the mortgage sale.

The application form which ************ completed states that the mortgage product applied for was a sale he “advised” as a representative of Karrek Financial Management Ltd.  It also states our accounts were available and the mortgage was not self certified.  It goes on to claim the following;
  • ************** had face to face contact with both my husband and I during the application process. This is completely untrue. We have never, on any occasion, met ************ and all communications between my husband and ************ were via telephone, email, fax or post. I have had no face to face or telephone contact with ************.
  • Both ************and Karrek Financial Management claim they saw our original passports for money laundering purposes. This is completely untrue. We were merely asked to send photocopies of our passports and a council tax bill both of which have been signed off by Karrek Financial Management in handwriting which does not appear to be ************'s. (see passport Doc 8 and council tax bill photo copies Doc 9)
  • Our earned income is shown on the application form as approximately 249k plus 75k with a further 50k in rental income for the years 2005, 2004 and 2003. Our actual income, as illustrated by our company accounts and Inland Revenue supplied tax returns, amounted to little more than 50k per annum in total for the years stated. (see financial evidence Doc 10)
  • The purchase price and purchase date of the property is shown as £890,000 in 2004 when in fact it was purchased in 2000 for £250,000. (see Land Registry search. Doc 11)
  • The age of the property is shown as 20 years old when in fact it could be as much as 300 years old or more and part of the property is thought to have been recorded in the Doomsday Book. (see Grade II listing Doc 12)
  • The application states the property has five bedrooms and three living rooms when it actually has four bed rooms and two living rooms (see estate agent details Doc 13)

When I reported the details of this fraud to the Bank of Scotland, I was advised never to contact them again. Next I reported the matter to the FCA who were insistent that what had happened appeared to be fraud and therefore beyond the remit of both themselves and the FOS. The FCA advised me to contact the police. This I have done and my case details have been logged and given a crime reference number. The Serious Fraud Office for the Devon and Cornwall Police advised me to seek legal advice.

Having initially spoken to the Avon and Somerset Police Serious Fraud Office in August 2014 to inquire as to whom I should report this financial crime, I was told the Bristol police had uncovered a similar mortgage broker fraud amounting to 11 million pounds. This week Swinton Insurance Brokers directors were fined £900,000 by the FCA for creating an over incentivised culture which promoted miss selling and wrongdoing. It is estimated they will be required to pay 11 million pounds in customer compensation. I strongly suspect the same unscrupulous methods have been equally lucrative for Karrek Financial Management Ltd  but to date I have been unable to get to the bottom of why they were removed from HBOS’ lending panel during my applications processing. (see HBOS screen print Doc 14).Nor have I been able find out if they have been the subject of other similar complaints or any formal regulatory disciplinary action.  So far, I have requested this information from HBOS, Karrek, the FCA and Openwork broker network support.  My requests have either been ignored or denied (see Karrek’s response letter Doc 15).

While HBOS’ dubious underwriting practices undoubtedly helped facilitate this fraud, their only response to my findings has been to say they acted in good faith.  However, in order to assess my losses I would like to know if the mortgage contract my husband and I thought we had with the Bank of Scotland is now void as a consequence of the fraudulent information contained therein. If this proves to be the case, does it follow that the Bank of Scotland unlawfully obtained a possession order to force the sale of my home? If so, do I have a case for recompense against HBOS as well as Karrek Financial Management?

In addition to the copy of the original mortgage application, I have in my possession a number of pieces of correspondence between HBOS, their panel approved broker Karrek and us, as well as certified accounts and Inland Revenue printouts of our income at the time.  I also have conveyance details for our original purchase of the property and HBOS screen prints stating the broker was removed from the panel during the application process, all of which I have enclosed with this letter. However, despite my repeated requests, I have been unable to secure any documentation from Karrek as they say they destroyed the file once the mortgage was 6 years old. More recently, September 2014, I wrote to both Karrek and their network support organisation Openwork to advise them I plan to take the matter of my falsified application form further. I have not received acknowledgement from either.

In the meantime I have, on the instructions of the police, informed the Bank of Scotland (formerly HBOS) that they have been a victim of fraud and asked them to file a police report too (see Doc 15a). I have received no letter of acknowledgement or response.
_
I believe the only witness’ I have are employees of the Bank of Scotland, namely those who underwrote our mortgage initially, Jill Miller and Moira Easton (see underwriting correspondence Doc  5) and Mr David Groves in Bank of Scotland Customer Services who sent me my first copy of the original application in January 2013 (see Doc 15b) without the signed declaration pages, when I complained about the inaccurate figures he was quoting while he was investigating my over- valuation/irresponsible underwriting complaint. (see my letter asking for declaration pages Doc 16).

Had ************ of Karrek Financial Management not falsified our mortgage application to secure us an unsuitable and unaffordable mortgage against our home, we would have had no alternative but to sell it for the £925,000 value the Bank of Scotland surveyor gave it at the time (see doc 17). A valuation which both the Bank of Scotland and the Financial Ombudsman have both later endorsed as fair and accurate in my FOS complaint of 2013. Had we sold in March 2006 instead of remortgaging and taking a further advance to refinance, we would have received £200,000 after repaying our TMB mortgage, less agents and solicitors fees.  Instead, ************’s reckless self serving advice led to the Bank of Scotland obtaining a possession order in November 2008 because we were unable to meet our interest payments from outset. This gave the Bank of Scotland the power to force us to sell our home for a mere £665,000 two years later (see arrears statement Doc 6).  Furthermore, I would not have spent the past six years suffering the immense stress of the Bank of Scotland’s relentless and ongoing pursuit of a £217,000 mortgage shortfall which was created from this fire sale.

I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely”
LAD

Political theorist, philosopher, author and reporter, Hannah Arendt, once said, “Confessions of collective guilt are the best possible safeguard against the discovery of culprits and the very magnitude of the crime the best excuse for doing nothing” and after six banking crisis ridden years filled with endless excuses for doing nothing and a plethora of meaningless confessions of collective banking and regulatory guilt, I am sincerely hoping £50,000 of legal funding will not only provide me with an audible voice with which to pursue our criminally negligent mortgage broker but I am also hoping it will finally provide me a long awaited opportunity to get up close and very personal with HBOS!

As ever, I now wait without patience, for news.







Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Wolves, Sheep and Regulators

Twice elected US president, Radical Republican and former Union Army general, Hiram Ulysses Grant once said, “In every battle there comes a time when both sides consider themselves beaten and then he who continues to attack, wins” and after three months of bank battling impasse,  I have reached the conclusion an armoury of evidence is my only means of defence should the Bank of Scotland choose to launch another attack . Without it, I am nothing more than a sitting duck for next twelve years.

Keen to leave no stone unturned I sent,
  • another request to the mortgage broker who submitted my falsified application to the Bank of Scotland, this time via a DSAR, along with formal notification I suspect them of fraud
  • a DSAR to the mortgage broker’s network support organisation requesting any information they might have relating to disciplinary action taken against the broker during the application process of my mortgage and a letter advising them I have put the broker on notice
  • an application  to my insurance company to secure legal advice with regard to whether or not my falsified application renders my contract with the Bank of Scotland void, legal representation in the event Bank of Scotland wish to dispute my findings through the courts and legal expertise to explore the merits of a negligence claim against the broker
  • a formal request to the FCA under the Freedom of Information Act requesting all information pertaining to any disciplinary actions or formal investigations relating to the mortgage broker, their network support firm and the Bank of Scotland. I have also specifically requested any information which would shed light on why (according the BoS' screen notes) the mortgage broker was removed from the  Bank of Scotland’s panel of brokers during the processing of my mortgage application in March 2006.

 And, believing my requests could provide pivotal evidence to support my claim that both I and the Bank of Scotland have been victims of broker mortgage fraud, I have also sent,
  •  An outline of my findings to the Devon and Cornwall Police and requested my case be kept open while I await further evidence.
Ten weeks have now passed and I have received,
  •  No response from the broker to my DSAR
  •  No response or even an acknowledgement from either the broker or their network support regarding my letters putting them on notice
  • No file of  information from the brokers network support team on grounds that the DSAR I made only covers personal information and the data they hold is not personal to me
  • No reply from my legal insurers
But thankfully I have also received,
  • No objection from the Devon and Cornwall Police to leaving  my case open while I collect and collate further evidence.
In addition I have also received,
  • A totally meaningless five page reply from the FCA which concludes with, “we can find no record of a relationship between Karrek Financial Management and the HBOS lending panel and  with regard to all other points of your request “to confirm or deny that we hold any information specifically relating to enforcement or disciplinary action against either ...[the broker] or [their network support provider] Openwork Ltd would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of a person or a firm (particularly the firms mentioned) and would, or would be likely to,  prejudice the exercise by the FCA of its functions under Financial services and Markets Act 2000 (“FSMA”). Therefore, we are unable to confirm or deny under section 43 (commercial interests) and section 31 (Law enforcement) of the Act whether or not we hold any information relating to action taken by us against these firms.” They further state, “the FCA also has a policy of not commenting publicly on whether or not it is investigating a particular individual or firm.
Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs and later 74th  United States Secretary of the Treasury,  Henry Merritt “Hank” Paulson, Jr. once warned, “There is a very real danger that financial regulation will become a wolf in sheep's clothing” but if my own experiences are an accurate measure, the complete reverse has proved to be much closer to the truth and, while some would still have us believe these very same regulators are the friends of the victims of banking crime, my six years of investigation into a Bank of  Scotland driven, broker implemented mortgage churning fraud would very much indicate otherwise.

With regulatory friends like these, who needs enemies?



Monday, 25 August 2014

Notorious Difficulties

Democratic socialist and one of the most influential English writers of the 20th century, Eric Arthur Blair (otherwise known as George Orwell), once said, “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -forever” and, as a result of this week’s disappointing developments, it’s hard not to imagine the human face being stamped on is destined to be mine.

In March 2006, having discussed our financial circumstances with a financial advisor/mortgage broker, my husband was told we could reduce our outgoings by more than half if we agreed to switch our existing mortgage of £725,000 to the Bank of Scotland and take a further advance of £65,000, secured against our home, to repay our credit cards. Desperate to alleviate his cash flow problems at a time when the terminal illness of two of his closest relatives was making it impossible to divide his time effectively between the needs of his family and the demands of his business, he agreed.
  • The mortgage application (which we never saw) was submitted on line by a broker we never met
  • There were no acquisition costs to pay, neither were there solicitors or surveyors to instruct as the cost of the valuation and the conveyance, along with instructions, were taken care of by the lender.
  • And, on 30 March 2006, after being told by the broker we had received a mortgage offer for £790,000 from the Bank of Scotland, we signed the declaration page and the direct debit mandate of an otherwise blank application form.
As a result, the broker earned £4,500 and we unwittingly agreed to move from a very tight corner which could have been rectified by the sale of our house, to an impossible situation amounting to tens of thousands of pounds in arrears, a £217,000 shortfall following the forced sale of our home in 2009 and six long years of battling with an unsympathetic bank while trying to establish precisely what had gone on. Had HBOS not sent me an entirely unsolicited copy of our original application form (minus the declaration pages) by way of an explanation to some wildly inaccurate claims they were making about the original purchase price and original purchase date of our house, I might never have discovered the fraudulent nature of the information it contained.

Having reported the fraud to HBOS and been advised never to contact them again, I immediately reported the matter to the FCA who were insistent it was beyond the remit of both themselves and the FOS.  Because of this I was told I should go straight to the police and, encouraged by the diligence of Action Fraud's staff to record the details of my case and the news they could present the crime as an Abuse of a Position of Trust, I looked forward to being contacted by the Serious Fraud Office of the Devon and Cornwall Police.

However, all appears not to have been as it seemed as, without sight of any of my documentary evidence, I am now told the police will not be investigating my claim of mortgage fraud as cases of this nature are,
  • Notoriously difficult to understand
  • Notoriously difficult to take forward if the real victim, namely the bank, does not come forward
  • Notoriously difficult to prove
I am further advised, 
  • I am not the victim of the crime and have therefore experienced no loss
  • I may well be considered complicit in the fraud as I gained from the brokers actions
  • At best, a fraudulent mortgage application is a civil matter or case for the FOS
And they suggest,
  • I bring the bank's irresponsible lending to the attention of the financial ombudsman and the financial regulators.
Politician, historian, author, political consultant and 58th speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Newton Leroy “Newt” Gingrich once said, “Perseverance is the hard work you do after you are tired of doing all the hard work you already did” yet despite the endless hard work of the past six years, this widely documented crime which was designed by the banks, implemented by unscrupulous brokers and facilitated by in house lawyers and solicitors, continues to go unpunished.

In the US the Bank of America recently agreed to pay $16.6 million in settlement for their mis-selling of mortgage backed securities in the run up to the financial crisis, but when it comes to justice for those of us who were coerced into the obtaining the unsuitable/mis-sold mortgages in the first place, there is none.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Truth and Understanding

Fourteenth century Italian physicist, mathematician, engineer, astronomer and philosopher Galileo Galilei once said, "All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered: the point is to discover them” and although discovering the truth about my Bank of Scotland mortgage has consumed my life for the best part of six years, understanding what the truth actually adds up to has only come to light during the past week.

Since the Bank of Scotland secured a court order to repossess my home in November 2008, disposed of it at a knockdown price in April 2009 leaving me with a £217,000 shortfall and then flatly refused to consider our circumstances or discuss their breaches in best practice, I have been kept  very busy.

I have;
  • Written countless letters to the FSA, the SRA, the FOS, the ICO, the Bank of Scotland, their debt collectors and the Bank of Scotland's CEO's Eric Daniels and Antonio Horta Osorio.
  • Scoured FB, twitter and the newspapers for both information and expertise
  • Used my 180 Life after Debt blog posts to find other individuals who have suffered at the hands of HBOS and in doing so secured more expertise
And,
  • Compiled five lever arch files of evidence and information to support my case of complaint
This week, armed with all of the above, I have finally presented my findings to the police and, as a result of three phone calls to and from Action Fraud and the hour long telephone interview I gave, I have now been told the following;
  • The crime I have reported is to be taken forward as an “Abuse of a position of trust”
  • My mortgage application, which was falsified by a third party, ticks every box for mortgage fraud
And,
  • As a result of my report, I must contact the Bank of Scotland once again.
To this end I wrote the following;

Dear Mr *******,

Mortgage Account No. ********-*/***/***
Crime Reference No.XXXX**********

Although you expressly stated in your letter of 24 July, “Any attempt to contact the Bank Of Scotland Plc (Halifax Division) regarding the above account will result in you being referred straight back to drysdenfairfax solicitors” , I have been asked by the police to advise the Bank of Scotland of the crime reference number I have been given for the mortgage fraud  I have reported to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (see above) and make the bank aware that it has also been the victim of the same mortgage fraud so it can file a report with Action Fraud as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely
LAD

In addition, I am reliably informed that having a crime number will encourage an altogether different reaction to the one the Bank of Scotland has seen fit to mete out to me in the past. Furthermore, my much valued FB friends and Twitter followers expertise, combined with a few legal opinions a little closer to home, suggest the unlawful repossession of an individual’s home and a comprehensive paper trail to boot is pretty solid ground from which to pursue compensation.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the twentieth century, UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill, once said, “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is,” and, after six arduous years of searching for the truth, the Bank of Scotland boot  finallyappears to be on the other foot and what's more,

The foot appears to be mine!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Maltesers and Madmen

The Maltese physician, inventor, author of Six Thinking Hats and the man who coined the term “lateral thinking”, Edward de Bono, once said, “Unhappiness is best defined as the difference between our talents and our expectations” and this has certainly proved the case for me in my fruitless attempts to get the Bank of Scotland to write off a mortgage shortfall their irresponsible lending culture, their gross incompetence and their rapacious greed created.

Throughout the past six unhappy years I have spent countless hours explaining;
  •  Neither my husband or I have anything more than a subsistence income with which to support our three children.
  • Neither my husband or I have any capital with which to repay an alleged mortgage shortfall of £217,00,
And, as a result of my recent findings, further explained,
  • Like me, HBOS has been a victim of broker mortgage fraud and, as a result of the falsifications which were submitted by the broker in an online application, their mortgage contract with my husband and I is not only void but cannot be enforced.
However, rather than respond to my repeated requests for documentary evidence to help support my case against the broker with the Cornish police, I have just returned from my much needed two week holiday with family to eight letters from the Bank of Scotland and their solicitors not only asking for payment in full but telling me;
  •       “We understand that this account is not in dispute”
  •    “There is no valid reason for it to remain unpaid”
And,
  •        "We do not wish our request for payment “to have a detrimental impact on your personal finances”
Edward de Bono also said, “Most of the mistakes in thinking are inadequacies of perception rather than mistakes of logic” but after six years of flogging the HBOS dead horse I can only wonder...

WHAT ARE THESE PEOPLE ON?

Sunday, 18 May 2014

From Ashes to Ashes

Sixteenth century English poet, critic and writer Samuel Johnson once said, “Fraud and falsehood... dread examination. Truth invites it” and yet more than five years on since the near demise of HBOS, the long promised FSA/FCA investigation remains as elusive as the truth and the prosecution of those responsible.

Instead, some would have us believe the future is bright.
However in stark contrast,
For those who have paid the price of HBOS’ fraud and falsehood, the truth still falls a long way short of a revival and although Antonio Horta Osorio’s two years of hard work may well have “paid off” for him personally, for the vast majority of banking crisis victims, incomes (in real terms) have dropped, homes have been lost, austerity measures impact on every facet of their lives and legal assistance is even harder to access. Furthermore, while “new” mortgage rules may well reduce the number of miss sold mortgages in the future, they, along with the unsuprisingly similar “old rules”, remain nothing more than regulatory recommendations and, if the past truly is a reasonable indicator for the future, it would be fair to assume it is still just as unlikely there will not be much by way of consequence for those who continue to flout them. 

In truth the “ashes of the great recession” are very much part of  the landscape for the vast majority of us and not only do they fall a long way short of fuelling a revival, but instead they provide a harsh reminder of how little has changed for those who fiddled to secure immense returns while the UK economy burned. Furthermore, if the government and the regulators remain committed to endorsing criminal banking behavior with apathy, it will actively encourage the Antonio Horta Osario's of this world, their "hard working" executive offices and the toothless Financial Ombudsman Service to ignore the victims of the banking crisis too. Little wonder HBOS are unprepared to believe my six year old claim that my mortgage was arranged fraudulently or that my six week old request to supply me with further evidence to aid my case against their broker, even warrants a reply.

Influential English novelist, journalist and critic of social injustice Eric Arthur Blair, whose pen name was George Orwell, once said, “In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act” and I for one believe when it comes to HBOS, a much needed revolutionary act is long overdue.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Estimates and Equanimity


Stoic philosopher of service and duty, champion of equanimity in the face of conflict and the last of the five good Roman Emperors, Marcus Aurelius once said, “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it: and this you have the power to revoke at any moment” and, in the face of the  Financial Ombudsman Services painfully disappointing decision to reject my Bank of Scotland mortgage fraud compliant, I have spent the past few weeks revoking its power to distress by investigating and collating my evidence in readiness to give to the police.

During the process of making inquiries aimed at presenting the clearest of pictures, I have discovered the following,
  • The Financial Ombudsman Service is not empowered to comment or rule on mortgage fraud and, according to the Financial Conduct Authority, should have made this clear to me from the outset.
  • My local Serious Fraud Office are currently dealing with numerous broker driven mortgage frauds which are almost identical in nature to that of my own case. 
  • Inland Revenue records show our taxable income for the preceding three years to our mortgage application was a mere 17% of that stated by the broker on our mortgage application.
  • The mortgage application submitted to HBOS in March 2006 was not (as I originally assumed) self-certified but instead a full status application offering our company’s accounts as evidence of income and,
  • Mortgage fraud can only be reported to the Serious Fraud Office in the district where the crime was committed.
Convinced this type of mortgage fraud was expertly designed by HBOS and merely implemented by the broker intermediary who introduced it, I made another request to HBOS’ executive team, this time asking them why they chose to remove the broker intermediary from their panel during the underwriting of my mortgage.

This was their response,

“With regards to your concerns about the removal of KMS from our intermediary panel, I have been in contact with our Credit Team and they have confirmed that both KMS and ******* ****** are still on our panel for intermediary business through the Halifax Brand under panel number***********...[and] the broker panel number [used previously] was not cancelled until October 2010 and was deleted as Arrangement Ended. This usually indicates a change of FSA status (such as principal) but is more likely to be due to the fact that the Bank of Scotland brand ceased taking introducer business in 2010. Therefore, our systems would update to show that the intermediary related to the panel number applicable to your application would no longer be on our panel as at today’s date.”

However, this lengthy and seemingly plausible explanation once again takes no account of the Bank of Scotland’s own underwriting screen notes for 2006 which clearly state,“The intermediary keyed for this application has been taken off the panel. Please refer to explain it for the appropriate course of action to take” which does not sound the least bit like a 2010 system update to me.Needless to say, I have now shared this information with Antonio Horta Osario’s executive team and am hoping they might  finally see fit to furnish me with a more meaningful reply.

British Indian novelist, essayist and author of Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie once asked, “How do you defeat terrorism?” His answer was, “Don’t be terrorized” and after six years of living with the terrifying consequences of a financial holocaust in which the Banksters of Scotland have played a significant part, I now live in hope that it will be information which finally sets me free.

As ever, I wait without patience for some results!