Two found guilty of inheritance fraud
01 December 2009
Two men were found guilty yesterday (30 November) of conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to forge, following a persistent three year scam, which could have netted more than £2million.
The jury at Southwark Crown Court heard how on the 6 January this year, officers from the Metropolitan Police Service Fraud Squad arrested Francis Fallon and Richard Carr at Carr's home address in Barking on suspicion of forging Land Registry and Probate documents.
'This case clearly illustrates the parasitic nature of fraudsters and their total disregard for victims'.
He was trying to claim ownership of 14 deceased victims' estates, stealing inheritance that rightfully belonged to the victims' next of kin.
Fallon, with assistance from a second fraudster, Carr, would transfer land registry details from the genuine owners to his own name or an alias. They both used forged signatures of the deceased on probate forms and wills and created false witnesses to add credibility to the forged documents.
Following a pro-active intelligence led operation, Fallon and Carr were tracked down by police and further enquiries revealed that they made a series of mistakes during their fraud. On one occasion Fallon signed the name of a deceased victim on a forged will, but dated it the 21 March 2006, which was five days after the victim's death.
During the investigation police found an address book that contained some of the names of the fictitious witnesses used on the forged forms.
In his defence, Carr claimed that he only did what he was told by Fallon, while he was working as an 'odd job' man for him. He also stated that following an operation on his head he suffered memory loss and was therefore unable to recall any of the events during the persistent fraud.
Detective Superintendent Russell Day, from the MPS Economic and Specialist Crime Command, said: "This case clearly illustrates the parasitic nature of fraudsters and their total disregard for victims. It is a heartless crime that resulted in significant financial criminal gain for Fallon and Carr at the expense of people who were entitled to inherit the properties and at a time when they were grieving for the loss of a loved one.
"We will ensure that the Proceeds of Crime Act is fully used to recover all criminal assets.
"We are working closely with the Land Registry, Probate Office and other property sector partners to ensure that criminals cannot use the same methods again.
"We also urge homeowners to make sure their affairs and papers are in order, and if you do have elderly relatives please make sure that you know where this information is kept."
Francis Fallon, 48, from New Town, Shandrum, Charlesville, County Cork, Ireland, was sentenced to seven years for conspiracy to defraud and another seven years to be served concurrently for conspiracy to forge.
Richard Carr, 76, from The Shaftesburys, Barking, Essex was found guilty in his absence. Police are appealing for information on his whereabouts after he absconded whilst on court bail in September.