Mother and daughter who carried out £1m property scam have almost no money left

A mother and daughter who were jailed after carrying out a £1.2 million property scam cannot return the proceeds of their crime, as they have almost no money.

The case of Laylah De Cruz and her mother Dianne Moorcroft was heard at a confiscation hearing. However, despite successfully hoaxing estate agents and solicitors to the tune of £1.2 million, the court has been told that they have no money left.

In 2014, the women, along with others, used fraudulent documents to rent a multi-million-pound four-bed home in Kensington. Once the tenancy was secured, Moorcroft changed her name by Deed Poll and assumed the identity of the deceased property owner. She then opened bank accounts in the dead woman’s name, before successfully applying for a £1.2 million loan against the property.

HM Land Registry reported suspicious activity around the property, sparking a fraud investigation. The women were subsequently arrested and, following a ten-day trial, the jury found the pair guilty. De Cruz was jailed for five years and Moorcroft for three.

Commenting on the case, Detective Constable Richard Kirk of the Met’s Operation Falcon said: “It is clear that it didn’t occur to them that official agencies would be able to see through their scheme and this was their undoing.”

Karl Cronin, the man said to have masterminded the scam, is still on the run.

The confiscation hearing at Southwark Crown Court has been told that De Cruz “blew a fortune on her luxury lifestyle” and has £375 to her name, while Moorcroft has just under £2,000 in a building society account. Judge Michael Grieve QC issued a £2,000 confiscation order against Moorcroft who faces a one-month default prison term if she fails to pay within 28 days. De Cruz’s confiscation proceedings have been adjourned until 7th December.

Speaking earlier this year, Alasdair Lewis, Director of Legal Services at HM Land Registry, said: “This case highlights the importance of taking steps to protect your property from fraud, particularly if it is tenanted or left empty.

“At HM Land Registry we have prevented frauds on registered properties worth millions of pounds, but no system can be 100 per cent fraud-proof which is why we urge people to keep their contact details up to date and to sign up for our free Property Alert service.”

Today's Conveyancer