A solicitor who committed ‘spectacular’ mortgage fraud of more than £1million has been sentenced to six years in prison.
John Fitzpatrick pleaded guilty to two charges of obtaining money by deception and seven charges of theft amounting to £1,157,000 between 1997 and 2001, where he acted as a facilitator to a dishonest mortgage broker and his client in a fraudulent back to back property sale at an inflated price.
The Serious Fraud Office said the impact of Fitzpatrick’s theft left one victim jobless and homeless, after he stole the victim’s money that was intended to purchase a home and a business, while another victim who arrived at a home he believed he had bought found it had not actually been sold to him and Fitzpatrick had instead stolen the money intended for its purchase.
Fitzpatrick also promised high returns to investors who entrusted him with their money, which he instead stole for his own gain.
Fitzpatrick was due to be tried in 2004 alongside six others involved in the fraud, but fled to South Africa to escape trial, and was extradited in 2013.
The Serious Fraud Office called Fitzpatrick the instigator, prime mover and principal beneficiary of another mortgage fraud.
Judge Moore’s sentencing remarks were: "John Fitzpatrick joined with others in two quite spectacular mortgage frauds.
"The final theft deserved special mention as John Fitzpatrick was so desperate for money at that stage to avoid an inevitable investigation, he stole £100,000 of client money."