Following criminal action brought by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Michael Joseph James Lewis was sentenced to two years in prison on two counts of making/supplying documentation for use in fraud and ten counts of carrying on a mortgage advisory business despite being prohibited from doing so.
Lewis had pleaded guilty to these matters on 14th June 2013 at an earlier hearing.
Over the course of more than fourteen months Lewis, a former- mortgage advisor, knowingly falsified employment and income details in respect of mortgage applicants in a dishonest attempt to deceive lenders into advancing mortgages. In doing so, his aim was to trigger the substantial arrangement fees that he had charged his clients. For example, for one client he sought fees of £12,000.
In earlier regulatory proceedings brought by the FCA’s predecessor, the Financial Services Authority, in 2011, Lewis had already been banned from advising on mortgages and fined £106,000 for mortgage fraud.
The FCA decided to take additional criminal action against him when it became clear that Lewis had simply ignored his prohibition notice and was continuing to advise clients. The FCA discovered that Lewis had been unlawfully providing mortgage advice to consumers right up until his arrest on 24 October 2012.
Tracey McDermott, FCA Director of Enforcement and Financial Crime, says this two year jail sentence should serve as a clear signal to anyone who might be tempted to do the same: “Where we take the step of banning someone because of the risk they pose to consumers, we expect them to comply with that. Where they do not do so they will face the most serious consequences. This fully deserved two year jail sentence shows just how much his arrogance has cost him.”