A LEEDS mortgage broker has been jailed for four-and-a-half years for his part in a £1.5m ‘fake sheikh’ con.
Jonathan Flynn, 38, from Woodhall Lane in Stanningley, was said by a judge at London’s Old Bailey to have played an important role in the scam.
Flynn was also banned from acting as a director of a company for seven years after being found guilty of fraud.
Three others with parts in the plot were jailed for a total of eight years.
The con involved two men posing as wealthy Arab brothers Malthoum and Said Mebjar to try to swindle finance company Masthaven out of £1.5m.
A £6m flat in London was ‘hijacked’ using paperwork from the Land Registry in 2010 in an attempt to secure the loan.
Masthaven managing director Andrew Bloom, however, became suspicious and called in police.
Acting on Mr Bloom’s concerns, officers arranged a sting operation at a West End hotel.
They moved in and made arrests when two men arrived dressed as sheikhs, the Old Bailey heard.
“Both dressed in Arab gear and were posing as the Mebjars,” said Jonathan Kinnear QC, prosecuting.
One of Flynn’s co-conspirators, Shakil Ahmed, 36, of Paddington in London, pleaded guilty.
He was jailed for three years in his absence, having fled on bail.
Two other men, Shane Martin, 51, from Tarporley in Cheshire, and Ahmed Ali, 47, of Manchester, also admitted their guilt and were each jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Det Con Lizzie Roberts, from City of London Police, said: “The gang used forged documents, a fake property valuation and dressed as sheikhs to try and disguise their true intentions, which was to commit a major fraud.
“But none of this was enough to overcome sound business practices and an investigation team ready to act quickly.”