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Liverpool family jailed over million pound mortgage fraud scam

  • 11/09/2018
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Liverpool family jailed over million pound mortgage fraud scam
A family from Liverpool has been found guilty of more than a million pounds worth of mortgage fraud used to buy luxury homes.


Members of the Shirley family falsely declared their income to secure mortgages on properties in areas around Liverpool over a period of four years, according to the Liverpool Echo.

The scam started in 2003, with James Shirley buying a house for £108,000, by falsely declaring incomes for previous years on the mortgage application.

A couple of years later in 2005 he bought a house for £360,000, claiming he was self-employed, contradicting HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) records that showed he earned nothing.

On the same application his wife Toni Smith declared higher earnings than she reported.

In 2005 James’ mother Norma Shirley, and her now deceased husband, purchased a property for £330,000 stating personal income more than double reported to HMRC.

Norma’s other son Ross Shirley went on to buy a property in 2006 for £300,000, claiming to be a director of ‘Shirley Homes’ earning more than £70,000 a year.

He had reported a salary of £15,600 to HMRC.

In the same year, his wife Danielle Brighouse bought a house claiming to be a self-employed hairdresser and earning four times more than reported to the taxman.

James Shirley also used disabled people to buy high-value luxury cars to evade around £1m in VAT when he ran a car sales business called J Shirley Cars between 2007 and 2009.

He then immediately sold the cars at a profit.

A car dealer named Eric Scragg, not related to the family, took part in the car scam, helping to arrange purchases.


Pleaded not guilty

All six pleaded not guilty to the offences but were convicted after a 23-week trial at Manchester Crown Court in June.

This week James Shirley was sentenced to six years and three months in jail on two counts of mortgage fraud, conspiracy to evade VAT and money laundering.

His brother Ross received three years in jail after being convicted of money laundering and mortgage fraud.

Smith was convicted of mortgage fraud and sentenced to 12 months suspended for two years, while Brighouse was convicted of mortgage fraud and money laundering and sentenced to 15 months suspended for two years and 100 hours unpaid work.

Norma Shirley was convicted of mortgage fraud and sentenced to 12 months suspended for two years.

And Scragg was convicted of conspiracy to evade VAT and jailed for six years.


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