A mortgage broker found guilty of fraud was given a two and-a-half year jail sentence this week after a five-week trial in north London.
Olakunie Okubote received the sentence after the Metropolitan Police’s London Crime Squad carried out an investigation in 2008 into his lavish lifestyle – which included a luxurious million-pound home in Finchley, the ownership of both a Land Rover and a Bentley, and other suspiciously high-rolling assets.
The crime squad worked with the Territorial Policing Payback Unit, who carried out a financial probe into Okubote’s lifestyle and business – a mortgage broker’s practice which traded under the name “First Channel”.
Okubote helped criminals gain mortgages by providing phony personal information and documents. He was offered discounts on new-build properties of between £10,000 and £20,000, with the connivance of conveyancing solicitors – who have been dealt with by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority. Lenders and borrowers alike were in the dark about this, which meant that the borrower ultimately received a mortgage higher than the price of the property.
He kept his nefarious activities hidden by shifting funds between different bank accounts set up under different identities. The police also arrested other brokers for helping with the deception by verifying the false documents.
As well as the severe jail sentence, Okubote was ordered to hand back over £23,000 of his ill-gotten gains and his assets have been frozen. Further civil proceedings are now taking place to strip him of all the other available assets.
The officer in charge of the investigation, Det Sgt Jason Aldridge, commented: “Olakunle Okubote was a confident criminal. I am pleased that the prosecution team were able to successfully conclude the criminal proceedings, under the leadership of Jonathan Wright from Castle Chambers.”