The National Crime Agency is facing criticism for failing to investigate reports alleging banks forged signatures and forged evidence in lawsuits for home ownership.
Representatives urged the National Constituent Assembly a year ago to investigate the matter After a BBC News investigation.
The National Command Authority received at least 19 boxes of evidence relating to 362 incidents.
But anti-corruption activists and members of parliament say the victims have not been contacted and no investigation has been opened.
The NCA says it conducts a “thorough evaluation” of the material provided to determine if a forensic investigation is necessary.
“We continue to evaluate the materials, including additional information provided in May 2020,” said an NCA spokesperson.
“In cooperation with partners at FCA and SFO, we conduct a thorough assessment to determine if there are grounds for conducting a criminal or regulatory investigation.”
- Government-owned bank “forging signatures” in recovery cases
- Representatives are calling for an investigation into allegations of fraudulent signatures
In July 2019, a BBC investigation uncovered evidence of fraudulent signature on court documents that banks and their representatives use to retrieve them.
Handwriting experts have confirmed that in many cases sent to the NCA, signatures used on the same name cannot be signed by the same person; And that the same signature was signed by different names.
After the BBC’s investigation, the Treasury Committee urged the NCA to investigate the matter.
Members of Parliament say extensive documents submitted to the NCA support allegations, which the banks have denied, that the evidence is fabricated or hidden in court proceedings to recover personal and business debt.
But anti-corruption activists say not one of the hundreds of victims has been contacted.
“We have gone to hell and back.”
In one example, Anna Britton, 49, from Porteshead, was forced to sell her home and return with her two daughters to her parents’ two-bed apartment after a dispute with a bank over commercial debt.
The three had to share a room and had been homeless for over three years. The trauma left her 12-year-old daughter with severe anorexia, says Anna.
“We went to hell and back. When I realized that I had gone through this using an apocryphal document, you think – you gave me 12 weeks to sell my house. I sold my furniture, sold my clothes, I sold my children’s dolls. She left us one bag of clothes. You destroyed all hope and dream. we had.
“I watched my daughter feed tubes. She was hospitalized for three months, her heart rate was 33, her sugar levels were dangerously low – we nearly lost her. Now she is 14 and still recovering from what she went through.”
While the bank has been tracking business debts through the courts, it relied on a personal guarantee document that Anna says she has never signed. Personal guarantees allow banks to track individuals’ personal assets, including their family’s homes, to pay off debts owed by the company.
An original Personal Warranty document has not been produced. Instead, the bank’s attorneys provided what they said was a photocopy of the original document, showing a personal guarantee of £ 47,000 dated 26 October 2012, apparently bearing her signature.
Britton says the signature should be copied and pasted from other papers. The document was allegedly seen by her financial advisor.
However, after the ruling against her, the financial advisor confirmed that he had stopped working for her by that date – and traveled to Spain on October 21 for a two-week vacation. Air tickets prove that he cannot be present on the date of signing the document.
Like many defendants in bank disputes, Anna could not afford the costs of legal representation and instead represented herself, eventually losing her case against the highly-paid team of attorneys and attorneys at the bank.
There must be a proper criminal investigation
Since the Treasury Committee letter to NCA last year, 19 fundraising files have received documentary evidence gathered by the signature bank fraud campaign in support of clients’ allegations, which they say amount to serious organized criminal activity that should be investigated.
However, activists say in the year since then, the NCA has failed to contact any of the victims to investigate their allegations, ignoring calls for action from anti-corruption activists, including Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner, Anthony Stansfield.
“I find it extraordinary that the NCA has received so much detailed evidence of forged documents and signatures from the banks. The Treasury Committee asked them more than a year ago to investigate this matter, but they haven’t launched an investigation,” he told the BBC.
“Talking about conducting an” evaluation “is an excuse they keep offering. You can’t” evaluate “for 15 months. There has to be a proper criminal investigation.”
In a letter to the NCA last year, the Treasury Committee urged the NCA to deal in person with the online lobbying group, the Bank’s Signature Forgery Campaign, which has compiled a large body of documentary evidence pointing to fraud and fabrication by banks and their representatives in repatriation. Procedures.
Campaign founder Julian Watts, a former partner of KPMG, says NCA’s CEO, Lyn Owens, has repeatedly pulled out of four pre-arranged appointments to discuss the evidence.
“The NCA appears to be ignoring calls by the Treasury Committee, local police and crime commission to investigate bank fraud,” said Steve Baker, a member of parliament and Treasury committee member.
“These fraud could have cost voters and people all over the country their homes. It is really important to believe in our institutions that the National Crime Agency works and investigates these very serious allegations.
“But the NCA hasn’t properly investigated. That’s not good enough and I’m calling on the NCA to either investigate now – or to explain why it’s not.”
In response to a request for a statement on the evidence, the bank’s commercial body, UK Finance, said: “Fraud is a criminal offense and banks will continue to be vigilant against such types of fraud.
We urge everyone who has evidence of fraud to report to his bank as well as the relevant authorities.