Natwest bank managers led £350,000 loans fraud in Bradford

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TWO BANK managers in Bradford were among a group who conspired to defraud Natwest Bank out of £350,000 through a series of bogus loan applications, a court heard.

Anzar Hussain, James Clegg and nine other men handled 14 false applications of £25,000 each, Bradford Crown Court was told. Hussain, 43, was a business banking manager at the time.

Christopher Smith, prosecuting, said that while it was not possible to say who “was the author of the dishonest scheme”, Hussain “occupied a leading, if not the leading, role” in the conspiracy.

Clegg, 34, worked in a similar position at a Natwest branch in Bradford, and had been recruited by Hussain to assist in the fraud, Mr Smith said.

The court heard some of the loans were applied for using stolen identities while other conspirators, who also appeared in court, willingly lent themselves to the scheme. Some helped to withdraw the proceeds from the bank.

Mr Smith said all the applications were all made for exactly £25,000 - the maximum sum Hussain or Clegg could authorise.

Once the loans were approved, the money went into a fictitious account and was withdrawn in large amounts.

Some of the cash was removed in cheques made out to Global Repossessions and Euro Finance, companies set up by co-conspirator Arfan Shah, of Bradford, in what was described as a money laundering operation.

Shah, 37, was convicted previously of conspiracy to defraud. Another conspirator, Imran Shah, 39, also of Bradford, was previously convicted of conspiracy. Clegg, of Huddersfield, has been previously convicted of conspiracy to defraud.

Three others, Sarvjit Singh, 52, Jasiwnder Kaur, 33, and Shahid Iqbal 42, all from Bradford, were convicted of conspiracy to defraud.

The court heard that as police began to make arrests, the conspirators began to panic - disposing of paperwork in a woman’s bin liner.

Mr Smith said the woman found “a treasure trove of evidence” which included documents indicating the fraudsters had got their hands on stolen identities. Some had been obtained from the bank’s archive.

He said: “Somebody must have gone to the bank’s archives, found the verified copies and used them in their conspiracy because they were found in the bin liner.”

He added: “The reality of this is there were loans being sought in the identities of real people.”

Some of the victims were even questioned by police, believing they may have been party to the fraud.

The court heard Hussain, of Bradford, had started working for Natwest in 1999 but had lied on his initial application. He was found guilty of deception.

Also in the dock were Amber Hussain, 26, Liaquat Mahmood, 53, Imran Mirza, 35, and Choudry Zeb, 39.

Amber, from Bradford, had been convicted of money laundering, and Mahmood, of Bradford, of conspiracy to defraud. Mirza, was convicted of money laundering and Zeb, of Bradford, of conspiracy to defraud.

The men will be sentenced at a later date.

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