A property tycoon nicknamed ‘Mr Fastcash’ has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years at Manchester Crown Court for masterminding a £6.8million mortgage racket to fund a life of wheeler dealing.
Marshall Joseph, 56, was the boss of a housing crime gang which ‘stole’ luxury homes across Britain and then illegally used them to obtain a string of loans.
Joseph – who got his nickname due to his firm Fastcash Property – joined forces with professional gambler Alick Kapikanya, 45, who in turn used the scam to fund his own life of casinos, residencies at top class hotels and homes in millionaire rows.
Chauffeur driven businessman Kapikanya helped Joseph recruit a team of conmen including a crooked conveyancing agent to acquire the title deeds of houses then use fake passports or driving licences and utility bills to pose as the real homeowners.
The gang would go to solicitors offices throughout Britain using the fake documents to sign over the properties to Joseph so he could take out loans with a number of financial institutions – securing the mortgages against the ‘stolen’ homes.
The true owners of the ten properties involved in the scam knew nothing about the illegal loans secured on their homes.
Police only uncovered the fraud after Joseph defaulted on secured loans repayments and it emerged he was involved in a string of scams.
Some of the money from the scam went on gambling sessions at the Ritz Hotel Casino in London.
Joseph, Kapikanya and their accomplices grabbed £3.5million and were about to get a further £3.3million from their racket when they were stopped.
JAILED: Alick Kapikanya used the racket to fund millionaire lifestyle
Today, Joseph’s life of riley, which included a £750,000 double fronted detached home named ‘The White House’ in the village of Hale, Cheshire, came crashing down after he admitted conspiracy to defraud, fraud, and money laundering.
Kapikanya admitted conspiracy and was jailed for six years.
During his career, twice married Joseph became notorious in Cheshire’s county set with his dodgy dealings and love of buying property ‘wholesale and always below the market value’.
His luxury house comprised of two suburban semis knocked into one was fitted with all mod cons and he acquired a Mercerdes, Rolex watches, jewellery and married his Moldovan second wife – despite her being more than half his age.
In August 2007 Joseph was tied up and stabbed in the thigh during a vicious raid on the house.
Five masked men stormed the property and held him, his wife, then aged 23 and her sister aged 21, and left them bound as the thugs ransacked the property for valuables.
The robbers escaped in the family’s blue Mercedes 320 a Rolex watch, pearl necklaces, a diamond engagement ring and a wedding ring.
Joseph was treated for his wounds and it is thought the robbers were never traced.
Kapikanya’s scamming helped him acquire a £1.2million lakeside mansion in Mere near Knutsford and later a £650,000 apartment in Hale’s prestige Hill Top.
He was director of a string property firms but lived on credit and became infamous for hiring tradesmen then wriggling out of paying his bills.
Police said the mortgage fraud began in 2007 when Joseph and Kapikanya focused on different scams which involved properties in Worsley, Greater Manchester, Altrincham, Holmes Chapel and Malpas, Cheshire and Sleaford, Lincolnshire.
Working in tandem, the pair arranged for property titles to be transferred from real homeowners to themselves before money was electronically transferred into the accounts of the gang – with the loans secured against those properties.
Kapikanya, who owed £100,000 for the hire of luxury cars, arranged for the unwitting lawyers to transfer £60,000 into a casino account he held at the Ritz.
He used the money to pocket £82,000 on the roulette wheels only to gamble away £8,000 later.
Victims of the fraud included an elderly doctor and his wife who were considering selling their recently closed nursing home and their family properties for £3million.
Another house in Hale worth £3million was illegally used as security for two loans totalling £800,000.
In another scam Joseph hired a surveyor to value an £850,000 country house set in a 1.5 acre paddock whilst the unwitting owner was on holiday.
He was arrested in February 2010 but made no comment in police interviews. It emerged he had been declared bankrupt in December 2008.
Today Detective Constable Craig Moylon, of Greater Manchester Police Major Fraud Unit, said: ”This was a meticulously planned series of frauds which involved different people playing different parts all for a common purpose with no regard for the devastation they were to have on many innocent parties.
”Kapikanya used the funds he raised to gamble heavily at many of the most exclusive casinos in the country while driving very expensive cars and staying in the finest hotels, sometimes for months at a time.
”The offenders carried out their actions with no regard for the lending organisations or the innocent homeowners who aside from the traumatic experience of fearing they had lost their homes or were potentially liable for loans of hundreds of thousands of pounds were forced to instruct solicitors to have their homes put back in their name and the secured loans removed from their titles.”
Bruce Robertson, 51, and Irene Perciful, 50, both of Duxford, Cambridge, were found guilty of conspiracy to defraud. Robertson got 30 months and Perciful 12 months.
Peter Tanner, 54, of Pampisford, Cambridge, Myra Trigg, 57, of Moss Side, Manchester and conveyancing agent Christopher Campbell, 31, of Ipswich, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud, fraud, and money laundering.
Tanner was given 15 months suspended for two years, plus 140 hours unpaid work. Campbell was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, plus 140 hours unpaid work.
Trigg was given eight months imprisonment, suspended for two years
Ben Southam, Senior Crown Prosecutor for North West Complex Casework Unit, said: “This was a complex three year investigation. When the defendants were arrested they had succeeded in defrauding various financial institutions of £3.5 Million, and had attempted to raise a further £3.3 Million.
“Each of them had their own specific role to play in this fraud, and all were fully aware of their actions. The mortgages and loans were obtained against houses they did not own, and without the knowledge of the real home owners.
”The true owners knew nothing about the loans being secured against their homes and were caused considerable distress and inconvenience to prove to the lenders that they knew nothing about the loans.”