One of six conveyancing solicitors that have been accused of being involved in a £49 million mortgage fraud has proclaimed his innocence, claiming that he had neglected to spot the crime due to his lack of understanding and experience in conveyancing.
49 year old Laurence Ferrigan, former CFB Partnership partner, stands accused of aiding criminals make millions from six separate commercial property deals that have been proven fraudulent. The former personal injury solicitor recently told Southwark Crown Court that he had only begun conveyancing work at the behest of his firm, which needed to find new sources of work and boost income, according to the accused.
Prosecutors stated that Mr Ferrigan had worked on four out of the six fraudulent transactions, namely Alma Street in Smethwick, Aston-based Concentric Works, Saltley in Birmingham, and Norfolk’s former US Air Force base Tattersett Business Park.
Mr Ferrigan had been part of a ‘musical chairs game’ played between solicitors, according to prosecutors. Mr Ferrigan had allegedly switched to representing the buyer from the selling firm, while one of his co-defendants had taken over representation for the vendor.
Prosecutors stated that such an example is not the only instance of the behaviour in question, where multiple solicitors would switch roles several times across the six transactions.
While Mr Ferrigan admits that he had been presented with changed instructions in several situations, the former accident solicitor stated that for the majority of the time the changes had been newer staff coming in to act on behalf of the purchasing firms rather than the reverse.
Jurors on the case were told that Mr Ferrigan had transferred a total of £11.9 million to bank accounts that were allegedly linked to Pakistani fraud organisers and brothers Nisar and Saghir Afzal.