"the sale was fraudulent and the property was never on sale"
Two men from Loughborough have been jailed for attempting to sell £3 million worth of properties even though they did not own them and the real owners had not put them up for sale.
They were caught following a four-year police investigation into the fraud they were running from their county law firm.
Hashok Parmar and Syed Gous Ali used the cover of Sterling Law Solicitors, in Loughborough, to launch an attempt to sell three London properties.
The pair used bogus documents to attempt to carry out three sales. If they were successful, they would have made around £3 million.
They were frustrated when other law firms saw through the deception.
Ali was the firm’s practice manager and Parmer was its sole solicitor and, according to company records, its director.
They were operating a ‘property take-over fraud’, whereby ownership deeds or titles are changed fraudulently and a new name put on them.
Suspicions arose in 2015 when officers received a report from a solicitor’s firm on behalf of a client who believed he had purchased a house in London.
In a statement, Leicestershire Police said:
“It later transpired that the sale was fraudulent and the property was never on sale nor did the rightful owners know anything about what had occurred.
“The investigation revealed Ali provided bogus paperwork to confirm the identity of the sellers to the conveyancing solicitors.
“Following the transfer of £240,000 the money was transferred to other accounts overseas and withdrawn in cash which was paid into various bank accounts including ones belonging to Ali and a solicitor’s account associated with Parmar.
“Attempts were made to sell two further properties in London in similar circumstances.”
Both men were charged with conspiracy to commit frauds to the value of more than £3 million and money laundering to the value of £240,000.
Ali, aged 46, pleaded guilty to the two offences.
Parmar, aged 63, was found guilty of the charges following a trial.
On June 1, 2020, at Leicester Crown Court, Ali and Parmar were each jailed for six years.
Detective Constable Matthew Swift of the force’s economic crime unit said:
“This was a lengthy and complex investigation which has taken more than four years to get to this stage.
“Between the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015 attempts were made to sell three properties.”
“Each sale had the same modus operandi – a person would pretend to be the real owner and would agree a sale to an innocent purchaser.
“The properties were in London but the conveyancing would be conducted by firms of solicitors in Leicester introduced by Ali or Parmar.
“Luckily solicitors for two of the three sales became suspicious and the defendants were unsuccessful.
“We are pleased this investigation has subsequently led to both men being convicted for their crimes.
“It will hopefully go some way in reassuring the community that we can and will investigate such offences and bring those responsible to justice, and deter others from committing sophisticated frauds.”
Companies House records that Sterling Law Solicitors was dissolved in 2015.