Charles Overend of London police sentenced for mortgage scam

Yesterday, Monday 9 August, a former police officer has been sentenced for his involvement in a £4.6million buy-to-let mortgage scam following a proactive investigation by the Metropolitan Police Service’s Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS).

On Wednesday 7 July, Charles Overend, 47, pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court to six counts of dishonestly obtaining money by deception between January 1 2005 and December 3 2007. He was sentenced yesterday to five and a half years for each of the six counts to be served concurrently. This sentence will run consecutively with a further three months he received for one count of possession of a false identity document with intent.

Jonathan Overend, 46, of Harrogate, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to one count of obtaining money by deception in 2005.

Carrol Thompson, 48, of Billingham, Cleveland, pleaded guilty to three counts to conspiracy to defraud between 2004 and 2007.

Jonathan Overend was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment and Carrol Thompson was sentenced to 50 weeks imprisonment, suspended for two years and 200 hours of unpaid work.

Charles Overend, Jonathan Overend and Carrol Thompson were originally arrested in March 2008. The arrests followed an investigation by the DPS into a buy-to-let mortgage scam that had been identified by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Between 2005 and 2007, Charles Overend committed mortgage fraud through obtaining buy-to-let mortgages by making false statements about the purchase price of the properties he was buying as well as where money for any deposits would come from.

Carrol Thompson, who was employed as a clerk at a number of solicitors firms, assisted by supplying false information to parties involved in property deals or by allowing such information to be supplied. Charles’ brother, Jonathan Overend, falsely claimed to provide funding for the deposits of a number of properties.

The scam involved approx. £4.6million and at least 32 properties across the country.

Following Charles Overend’s arrest, investigating officers found amongst his possessions a driving licence with his picture on it but a different name and address. The name was that of a child who had died and the address was that of an acquaintance. He had used the driving licence to open a building society account. In March 2010 Charles Overend pleaded guilty to possession of a false identity document with intent.

Officers from the DPS conducted a thorough investigation into this complex case. A specialist team within the DPS who research the financial background of individuals suspected of relevant crimes assisted the investigation. The DPS Financial Investigation Unit traced the vast sums of money involved in this case through over forty five bank and building society accounts and mortgage loans. They applied for over 50 production orders so that they had access to all these accounts and could put together an accurate picture of how the money was being used. The DPS are now looking to seek a confiscation order from court for as much of the illegally earned money as possible.

In total investigating officers took 157 statements and have gathered information from about 20 financial institutions, 10 mortgage lenders and 12 property vendors.

Charles Overend used to be a Detective Sergeant based on Wandsworth borough, where he had worked as a financial investigator. He had been suspended since his arrest in March 2008 and his resignation was accepted in May 2010.

Detective Sergeant Emma White, Directorate of Professional Standards, said: "This has been a complex investigation to which the Met has committed specialist skills, knowledge and expertise.

"The lesson from this case is clear: the Met will not ignore any allegations of wrong doing by our officers no matter how complex or ‘victimless’ the crime may appear. We will investigate them seriously and thoroughly.

"This former officer abused his police role and the duty he had sworn to undertake on behalf of the public. He used his access and knowledge of the financial world obtained throughout his police career to his own personal gain.

"Like the rest of the Met, the DPS is here for Londoners, making sure officers and staff provide the public with the service expected of them. The vast majority of our officers and staff act with professionalism and integrity and are committed to ensuring their colleagues do the same."

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