Mortgage brokers in £40m fraud probe

A BEXHILL-BASED mortgage broker is at the centre of a suspected £40m fraud investigation.

Officers from the City of London Police arrested eight people in connection with the probe into the affairs of Eastbourne Financial Services Ltd on Tuesday.

The charges relate to fraud affecting mortgages taken out on more than 500 properties in the South of England between 2005-2007.

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More than 50 officers from the City's Economic Crime Department, assisted by officers from Sussex Police, took part in the pre-planned operation.

Arrests were made at six residential addresses in Sussex and North London and searches also took place at three business premises.

The seven men and one woman arrested are between 29 and 59-years-old and were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.

Eastbourne Financial Services Limited has offices in Windmill Drive, Bexhill. Templar Property Letting Agents, in Parkhurst Road, Bexhill, is also linked th the company.

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Eastbourne Financial Services is currently in liquidation and no longer authorised by the FSA. The City of London Police action followed a referral from the FSA, which has been closely involved in the investigation.

The company's website reads: "We cater for both residential mortgage brokers and brokers specialising in the buy to let/residential property investment markets.

"We work closely with commercial lenders, secured second charge lenders and unsecured charge lenders.

"Niche market ( or non-conforming/sub-prime ) lending is our specialty."

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Det Supt Bob Wishart from City of London Police said: "The scale of today's operation shows City of London Police's commitment to investigate frauds and bring those behind them to justice.

"We know that fraud has the potential to impact on local communities and we are determined not only to work with colleagues across the UK to investigate such frauds but to liaise with other agencies to mitigate that impact on innocent people affected by the criminal greed of others.

"We have worked closely with the local police in Sussex and with the owners of the properties involved to minimise the impact of our investigation on local communities and on tenants.

The investigating team has appealed for anyone with concerns about their dealings with EFS to contact them via the force website