Woman ordered to repay £172,000 out of £700,000 swindle

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A WOMAN who used disguises to defraud banks and building societies out of more than half a million pounds has been ordered to repay £172,000 of her ill-gotten gains.

Feruza Mettrick, 33, rented properties using fake documents and utility bills before pretending to be the real owner and applying for loans.

An independent financial adviser with knowledge of mortgage applications, she targeted properties which had no outstanding loans or borrowing against them via letting agents.

With the help of two men, she was able to pretend to be the real owners and convince financial institutions to give her cash advances for mortgages or loans. In some cases, attempts were made to even sell off properties without the real owners being aware.

She was arrested wearing a wig and glasses as part of a disguise at the Royal Bank of Scotland branch in Harrogate in September 2010.

Mettrick, of Newton Garth, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, was jailed for five years in July last year for conspiracy to defraud. She was returned to Leeds Crown Court yesterday to face a confiscation hearing.

The court heard that Mettrick illegally made £690,900 from the deception but she had £172,000 of assets which could be seized. Judge James Spencer QC ordered Mettrick to pay the sum within six months or face another two-and-a-half-years behind bars.

Judge Spencer said he did not accept anything she told the court when he sentenced her.

She also made other attempts to obtain funds via mortgage loans and the potential losses to lending institutions was nearly £2.5m. Homes in Leeds, Batley and Harrogate were all targeted.

One deception saw Mettrick take on the identity of a 67-year-old woman who owned a large detached bungalow on Chelmsford Road, Harrogate, and gain a £120,000 home improvement loan.

When she was arrested, Mettrick refused to co-operate with police but later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud.