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LAWYER FACING FRAUD CHARGES; Mersey man's trial underway.

Byline: JOHN SIDDLE @jsiddle

A MERSEYSIDE lawyer is on trial over an alleged multi-million pound string of commercial mortgage frauds.

Paul Francis Rooney, 59, denies eight counts of money laundering and fraud by false representation.

The lawyer, who formerly ran Rooney and Co Solicitors, in Wirral, is accused of conspiring with six other men to commit fraud by conning banks into issuing inflated mortgage loans.

It is alleged applications for mortgages were backed by false leases and fraudulently inflated property valuations.

A two-month trial at Birmingham Crown Court is underway following a West Midlands police operation, codenamed Ply.

Prosecutors allege that Rooney, of Norwich Drive, Upton, along with two Birmingham men - Tahir Shah and Kamran Malik - fraudulently obtained a PS330,000 loan from Lloyds TSB for the purchase of a building in Stretchford, Birmingham, based on "misleading" bank account credit balances and commercial lease details in April 2008.

It is alleged the same men committed a similar mortgage fraud to obtain a PS1,815,000 for the purchase of Belford College, in Oldham, in February, 2009 and PS490,000 for the purchase of homes in Earle Street and Queen Street, St Helens.

Rooney, Shah, Malik and a fourth defendant, Nasir Ilyas, are also accused of obtaining a fraudulent PS2.62m loan for the Wirral Point development in Claughton Road, Birkenhead. Prosecutors say bogus bank account credit balances, property portfolios and draft lease details were used to support the application.

A jury has heard how the loans obtained were much higher than the value of the properties loaned against. The prosecution against Rooney followed a decision by watchdog, the Solicitors Regulatory Authority.

They last night confirmed Rooney's licence to practise as a lawyer had lapsed. He was formerly based at The Quadrant, in Hoylake.

? The defendant is not connected in any way with prominent Liverpool solicitor Paul Rooney, founder and former owner of Paul Rooney Partnership, now Paul Rooney Solicitors.

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LOAN: Wirral Point in Claughton Road, Birkenhead
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 7, 2013
Words:328
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