Trio await sentencing on multi – million pound mortgage fraud

February 24, 2014

A former Newry bank manager who pleaded guilty to fraud linked to bogus loans and mortgages is to learn of his fate on Friday.

Peter Creegan, along with his co-accused former solicitor Peter Brassil and ex-financial adviser Damien Mallon, appeared before Belfast Crown Court on Friday last on charges related to a multi-million pound fraud, spanning six years from 2002 until 2008.

Creegan (47), from Limekiln Road, Newry occupied a position of trust as a former manager of First Trust bank, with authority to approve loans of up to £300,000.

He has admitted 18 offences that include fraud by false representation, seven counts of theft, obtaining services by deception, two counts of fraud by abuse of position, false accounting, removing criminal property, conspiracy to obtain a money transfer and fraud by false accounting.

Brassil, 51, from Chancellor’s Road, Newry pleaded guilty to nine offences, namely, entering an arrangement to acquire criminal property, false accounting, three counts of theft, fraud by false representation, two counts of conspiracy to obtain a money transfer and fraud by false accounting.

Damien Mallon, 56, from Drumconwell Road, Armagh, pleaded guilty to seven charges. They are two counts of theft, concealing criminal property, two counts of transferring criminal property, obtaining services by deception and false accounting.

A prosecution lawyer told the court that a core of the criminality involved securing loans, which were then used to fund the purchase of a number of properties.  In some cases the name of the loan claimant was made up, while in other cases, loans were granted in the names of entirely innocent and unsuspecting individuals, some of whom held bank accounts at the First Trust’s branch in Newry.

The court heard that in one transaction alone in 2006, which involved Brassil and Creegan, the amount of money released by the bank via a bogus loan application was £1.276m.

Their actions came to light when an internal investigation was launched at the bank, which ultimately led to a police investigation.

Pleas of mitigation will be heard on Friday, 28 February, on behalf of Creggan and Mallon, before Mr Justice Burgess passes sentence.