16:05 PM, 12th September 2011, About 11 years ago
Buy to let fraudsters lied about rental returns and finding tenants in a scam that tricked investors out of more than £1 million.
The property investment club sold 21 houses in Burnley and Pendle, Lancashire, to Irish landlords by offering false promises about the likely real returns.
In fact, Manchester Crown Court heard the sale prices of the homes were inflated and the investors could never hope to make the promised profits.
Financial adviser Mark Lenton Jopson, estate agent Raymond Abramson and associate John Edwards pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and were released on bail pending sentence on November 28.
The court heard that each fraudster lied to investors about how much money was spent on refurbishing the properties and the availability of mortgages.
Abramson was also revealed as a bankrupt who traded masked his true identity with a bogus name Trevor Smith – to trick the investors.
Jopson ran Mark Jopson Financial Services in Clayton-le-Moors, Lancashire.
Prosecuting Andrew Nuttall QC explained the defence agreed that the fraud involved 21 of 31 properties the gang had for sale.
Some repairs and upgrading was completed, but the defendants agreed that the work was ‘inadequate’, at several of the properties.
Abramson was the king pin of the operation, recruiting Jopson to aid the scam, and bringing in Edwards as a subordinate early in the crooked deal. Edwards told police he realised the scheme was a fraud more or less from the start.
Jopson, 52, of Padiham, Abramson, 68, of Whitefield, and Edwards, 43, of Prestwich, each admitted conspiracy to defraud.
The trio faces Proceeds of Crime Act hearings to seize their assets following sentencing.
The conspiracy involved 23 victims who lost more than £1 million.
The prosecution dropped charges that Jopson assisted a bankrupt engaging in trade, and managing a company, which he denied.