Mortgage advisor sentenced for forgery

A DISGRACED former director of a Suffolk mortgage advice firm who “exposed consumers to substantial risks” has been handed a suspended prison sentence in the first prosecution of its kind in the country.

Will Clarke

A DISGRACED former director of a Suffolk mortgage advice firm who “exposed consumers to substantial risks” has been handed a suspended prison sentence in the first prosecution of its kind in the country.

Simon Gray, of Norton, near Bury St Edmunds, appeared at City of Westminster Magistrates Courts to be sentenced for a total of nine charges.

At an earlier hearing Grey had admitted five charges of misleading the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and four counts of forgery.


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The 41-year-old former director of Direct Mortgages (Bury St Edmunds) , based at the Bartons Retail Park in Bury, had pleaded guilty to charges relating to information he provided to the FSA and in applications for two directorships.

Gray provided mortgage advice in Bury between 2004 and 2007.

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He was sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment suspended for 18 months, for making misleading statements and using forged documents in repeated applications to receive FSA approval.

In passing sentence, Deputy District Judge Humfrey Malins said Gray's offences involved “sustained dishonesty”.

He said there was “no question that custody was appropriate” and that these were “absolutely disgraceful” offences.

The case was the first time the FSA had prosecuted an advisor for providing false information to the authority.

After the hearing, Graeme Ashley-Fenn, director of permissions, decisions and reporting at the FSA, said: “Mr Gray's actions were dishonest and a deliberate attempt to undermine the FSA's approval process.

“Our action in this case should deter others from distorting the truth when applying for authorisation and help protect consumers from the risk of being given unsuitable advice.

“The FSA has a vitally important job to do in protecting consumers and seeking to prevent financial crime.

“People who behave like Mr Gray seek to prevent the FSA from doing this and, if successful, expose consumers and market participants to substantial risks.”

During Monday'shearing, Gray was also ordered to pay £750 towards the FSA's costs and he will be supervised by the probation service for 18 months.

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