Mortgage Fraud Allowed To Prevail On Conveyancer’s Watch
Stephen Michael Oakley, was convicted of multiple money laundering offences in 2018, and hasn’t practised in the profession since 2011. He has now agreed that he should be struck off the solicitor roll after allowing mortgage fraud to take place on his watch.
A client instructed Oakley to act as their conveyancer. It transpires that the client had raised the purchase funds from a commercial bank loan and from sums provided by a number of different third party sources.
Subsequently, the client and a third party were convicted of mortgage fraud in relation to this transaction. As a result of his failed due diligence and breach of money laundering regulations Oakley was found to have facilitated mortgage fraud.
Judge Rees who sentenced Oakley for the offences said that he was the money laundering officer for his firm and he had prime responsibility for preventing anybody laundering criminal money. Although she did say she didn’t feel that Oakley benefited from the fraud.
A Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal heard that Oakley had pleaded guilty to the three counts of money laundering. However, this wasn’t the only offence he was guilty of.
They also heard that he failed to surrender to bail at Cardiff Crown Court. He was fined £6,250 and ordered to pay £7,200 towards prosecution costs.
Both Oakley and the Solicitors Regulation Authority agreed that the solicitor be struck off the roll. He was also ordered to pay an additional £2,000 in costs.