A mortgage broker who hid a criminal record and asked that regulators travel to Nigeria to interview him has been barred from practising and fined more than £100,000 ($151,000) by the City watchdog in a sign of its renewed determination to use hefty fines to deter wrongdoing.
The Financial Services Authority said Gabriel Aramide, director of 1st Point, a company based in Romford, Essex, obtained a false mortgage for himself by overstating his income. He also failed to tell the regulator of his criminal record for fraud, the FSA said.
On Monday the regulator fined him £1,279 to cover disgorgement of illegal profits and £100,000 in a punitive penalty. The FSA seldom levies penalties of that scale against mortgage brokers, but it is considering raising fines to send a stronger signal of its intention to clamp down on misdemeanours.
Last week Hector Sants, chief executive of the FSA, told a group of City lawyers that the watchdog would consult on its plans this summer, but made it clear penalties would rise.
On Monday Margaret Cole, director of enforcement at the FSA, said Mr Aramide’s case was one of a series of actions it had taken over the past two years to address mortgage fraud, during which it had fined or barred more than 30 brokers. “Mr Aramide’s concealment of his criminal record showed a lack of honesty and integrity on his part and the FSA will seek to prevent people like him from working in authorised firms,” she said.
Mr Aramide was initially approved by the FSA on October 31 2004, the day the FSA took on oversight of more than 7,000 groups in the mortgage industry, leading to warnings at the time that unsuitable brokers were being approved without sufficient oversight.