Six persons, including an NRI, have been charged with offences in connection with a series of commercial mortgage frauds totalling nearly 50 million pounds.

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said the six individuals were at the centre of an investigation into claims that the Cheshire Building Society was defrauded by a series of false mortgage applications.

The suspects appeared at the City of London Magistrates Court and were ordered to attend Southwark Crown Court on January 4, the SFO said.

The six suspects are Hardeep Sodhi, Fatema Patwa, Ian McGarry, Saghir Afzal, Laurence Ferrigan and Simon Lawrence.

It is alleged that they participated in a series of frauds whereby they dishonestly obtained loans from banks or building societies that were secured on six commercial investment properties.

Each property was transferred between companies controlled by one of the defendants and his associates at highly inflated prices in a series of back to back transactions.

On the basis of the grossly inflated prices, fraudulent valuations and forged leases, the defendants applied for and obtained mortgage advances totalling nearly 50 million pound.

The mortgages were quickly defaulted on and the lenders suffered significant losses.

The investigation was referred to the SFO in March 2006 by the West Midlands Police following a complaint from the Cheshire Building Society.

More In: News | National