GP Forced To Share Home With Previous Owner’s Ex-Wife Following Property Fraud
A GP has been forced to share 50% of his home with the wife of the previous owner after the property was sold without her consent.
Dr Babar Akbar, 31, bought the Dunfermline based house off Donald Booth in December 2016 with the intention of housing himself, his wife and his parents.
All was well and the married couple were enjoying the dream home they were able to share with Dr Akbar’s parents. Unfortunately, ten months later disaster struck when they received a court summons.
The court summons was addressed to both Dr Akbar and the previous owner, Mr Booth, demanding compensation for the unlawful sale of the house.
The summons was imposed by Mr Booth’s ex-wife, who was named as the joint owner of the property.
She has since claimed that the property was sold without her express consent. Despite Mrs Booth’s signature appearing on the disposition, Dunfermline Sheriff Court have confirmed it was forged and the property sale was fraudulent and sold to the detriment of Mrs Booth.
Although Dr Akbar completed all aspects of the sale legally, he has now lost control of his own property and incurred severe legal costs. Mrs Booth, who has a 50% share of the property, could request her share, forcing the new owners to sell their home.
Following the oversight from the Scottish Registrar system, Dr Akbar is seeking compensation to help ease the losses incurred which were not his fault.
Mr Booth has not been contactable following his part in the property fraud and continues to evade the police.
Dr Akbar is now calling for greater control and redress for property owners who face insurmountable difficulties if a property is sold fraudulently.
At the end of May, following the announcement that authorised push payment (APP) fraud had increased by 93% in a year to £354 million in 2018, a number of banks signed up to an elective refund scheme.
The nuts and bolts of the scheme will mean that a scammed individual, who is a member of the eight banks currently signed up, will be offered a full refund if the authorised push payment fraud was not their fault and the property purchase was under £1 million.
If the report made to the bank passes the new set of criteria outlined in the scheme, victims will be offered a full refund that will come from a central pot created and financed by the inaugural collective of banking institutions.
Although the scheme is not fully operational, a long-term funding solution is set to be agreed by the start of 2020.
Whilst this may help victims using the eight banks signed up to the scheme, many fear that not enough protections currently exist to protect the purchaser if the property is bought fraudulently.
Dr Babar Akbar, victim in the case, commented:
“Essentially you can spend your life’s savings and earnings after serving your community non-stop from the day you qualified on buying a house for yourself and your family.
“You go through every proper legal channel, including a conveyancing firm, the land registry, assured everything is in order.
“Boom – a year later someone appears saying ‘the signature was forged and actually I still own the house’.
“I was an innocent victim, no protection offered to me, and just like that I have lost half my house, with thousands of pounds on legal fees, all for nothing.
“This could happen to anyone, any house buyer in the country. Why aren’t there any safeguards for buyers like me?”
Tayside and Fife police department commented:
“On Tuesday May 21, 2019, Police Scotland received a report relating to the sale of a home in Dunfermline as a result of fraudulent information provided to the land registry office in Edinburgh.
“Officers are continuing with their investigation to establish the full circumstances of this matter.”
Representatives from Registers Scotland claimed:
“Registers of Scotland is aware of this case which is the subject of a police investigation and we will provide the police with any assistance they require.
“We have procedures in place to detect potential fraud which are kept under constant review.”
Having incurred legal costs and lost half ownership of his house, should the law do more to protect victims of property fraud?