UK Conman Jailed for Mortgage Scam

handcuffs-300x2251112121A CONMAN who convinced his close friends to remortgage their homes to fund his lavish lifestyle has been jailed.

Rienzie ‘Joe’ Silva, 72, tricked elderly investors out of their life savings through a fraud which lasted nearly 20 years.

The mortgage broker convinced close friends to take out new home loans and put the cash into an offshore account.

Silva, from Friars Wood, Selsdon, then diverted the money into a friend’s bank account before spending it on first-class travel, luxury holidays and gifts for his family in Sri Lanka.

An Iraqi couple, who could not read or write English, were persuaded to remortgage their home and handed Silva £1.35 million as an investment. The money disappeared and they were left with £9,000 a month interest payments.

Richard Jory QC, prosecuting, told Southwark Crown Court Silva’s victims were left in “financial ruin”.

“Those individuals were left destitute, suffering significant financial loss and have been left to work beyond the period they wanted to work in order to meet repayments,” he said.

Silva’s Ponzi fraud, which saw him use investors’ cash to repay other customers so he could remain undetected, lasted between 1991 and 2010.

The court heard he used Croydon-based Abbey Brokers as his “virtual fiefdom”, profiting from at least £4.3 million.

Silva relied on his power of persuasion to convince close friends, some he had known for 20 years, that the investments were in their best interests.

The victims who attended court on Wednesday described Silva as “pure evil”, “selfish” and “callous”.

Leonard Smith QC, defending, said it was a “tragedy” that a man of Silva’s age was going to prison “not only in ill health… but with the destruction of many friendships over many years, which is really what this case is about”.

Judge Anthony Pitts told Silva: “The scale of the breach of trust is staggering in this case. Most of the victims looked up to you. You were a friend and yet all the time you were running a Ponzi fraud and all the people who were victims felt betrayed.”

Silva pleaded guilty to two counts of fraudulent trading and was jailed for five years and three months.

He was formally cleared of 42 counts of fraud by false representation, obtaining property by deception, false accounting, theft, trading with intent to defraud, and carrying on business with intent to defraud.

A confiscation hearing has been provisionally set for January 14 next year.

Detective constable Ian Poole, of the MPS Fraud Squad, said: “Silva swindled close friends out of their cash. He exploited their longstanding trust in him in order to get their money.

“He led them to believe that he had their best interests at heart, and when they enquired about the progress of their investment, he lied to them about various delays or paid them small sums of money from other victims’ pockets to keep them at bay.

“Silva is deserving of the sentence that he has received and we are investigating his assets.”

Compiled by Mortgage Fraud Consultants – Chip Cummings is a best-selling author and nationally recognized expert in the area of mortgage fraud. He provides mortgage fraud expert witness services and litigation support to attorneys and financial institutions worldwide. He can be reached at (866) 977-7900

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