Leeds mortgage fraud accountant is spared jail time

Library picture
Library picture
Have your say

An accountant helped a client falsify document to secure a mortgage on a house worth more than £200,000.

A court heard Tim Cullen took part in a deception in which self assessment forms were submitted for a mortgage application, claiming his client earned £105,000 per year. The true annual income of the client was only £10,000.

Leeds Crown Court heard the falsified documents enabled the client, Andrew Brennan, to secure a mortgage of £213,500 for a house on Cavendish Mews, Drighlington, in October 2005.

Cullen was working as a book keeper for Wakefield-based Spencer, Woods and Associates accountancy firm at the time of the offence.

The fraud did not come to light until July this year when Mr Brennan was investigated by police in relation to other matters.

Cullen, of Grove Hall, Great Northern Road, Pontefract, was arrested but made no reply in interview. He later pleaded guilty to fraud.

The court heard Cullen has a previous conviction for robbery in 1992, for which he spent 30 months in a young offenders’ institution.

Simon Bickler QC, mitigating, said Cullen’s behaviour in the seven years since the offence had been “exemplary”.

Mr Bickler said Cullen had managed to qualify as an accountant during that time and was an associate at the company where he now worked.

The barrister said Cullen did not stand to gain anything by helping Mr Brennan make the claim other then by getting more clients.

The court heard Mr Brennan continues to pay the mortgage on the property but the court has no record of whether he faced any charges in relation to the deception.

Mr Bickler added the offence occurred at a time when Cullen was experiencing family problems. Judge James Spencer QC gave Cullen a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered him to do 200 hours unpaid work.

He said: “This has eventually caught up with you. Whether or not your erstwhile client has been punished for this matter, we do not know. But certain it is that your are before the court for it. You played your part in that fraud and it was a significant fraud.”


Survey reveals ‘could do better’ picture of Leeds’s health