Stratford solicitor jailed over £1.3m homes scam
PUBLISHED: 08:00 26 September 2012
She faked mortgage applications to make money from rents
A greedy solicitor who cashed in on rising property values near the Olympic stadium has been jailed for two years for a £1.3m mortgage scam.
Elena Quinlivan, 35, used fake payslips, bank statements, national insurance numbers to massively exaggerate her income.
The lawyer first amassed a portfolio of four houses in and around the Stratford area after being introduced to a document forger in 2003.
Quinlivan also arranged forged documents so a friend could get dodgy mortgages on two more houses, Southwark Crown Court heard.
Passing sentence, Judge Nicholas Lorraine-Smith said she had made a “tidy income from rental properties that she knew she couldn’t begin to afford”.
He told her the mortgages “initially were for the house you wanted to live in with your husband, but thereafter they were for you to let out at a profit.
“The house market was promising then,” he said. “These were multiple frauds which were professionally planned, carried out for your and others personal benefit.These offences deserve a long prison sentence.”
The fraud began in January 2003 while Quinlivan was working as an administrator at Winkworth Estate Agent in Stratford.
While working at the business, Quinlivan says she was given the details of a forger who could help her get a mortgage despite her low salary of just £16,000.
After meeting the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, he produced fake documents showing she had an income of £58,000.
A mortgage was soon granted by Halifax bank for a house in Stratford, which became her home.
The Russian-born mother-of-two later bought another three buy-to-let properties for herself and two friends, in one case using the name of her mother.
The total value of the fraud was £1,332,499.
Quinlivan first moved to the UK following a school exchange in 1992.
She later studied law at Manchester University.
She began a training contract with east London criminal defence firm S T Law in 2006.
Imran Khan, defending, said Quinlivan met the forger and initially “explained she didn’t have the income she thought would allow her to buy.”
“He said, ‘no problem, let me take care of it’,.
And he did so he said.
“She came from a society, the Soviet Union, in which things were done very differently.
She informs me these matters are dealt with regularly without recourse to criminal law.”
The lawyer added: “She knew that accounts would be prepared but the detail of it and precise circumstances were not known to her.”
“She was completely taken in by his talk and his ability to be able to make money very quickly, so in that sense she was naive.”
Quinlivan, of Louise Road, Stratford, admitted a total of seven counts of conspiracy to obtain a money transfer by deception.
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