Mortgage broker caught up in bikie fraud

by John Maguire03 May 2016
Mortgage brokers are among those being used by bikies to obtain millions of dollars worth of bank loans using false documents, according to police allegations.

A special taskforce, dubbed ‘Maraar’, is made up of the Fraud and Cybercrime Squad, Strike Force Raptor and the National Anti-Gangs Squad. This initiative has charged 11 people with using false loans to purchase luxury cars, motorbikes and property throughout Sydney. Mortgage brokers, real estate agents and ‘front’ people with no criminal records were those found being used by bikies.

Among those charged were mortgage broker John Bazouni and his associate Vesna Karasecevic. Another charged, in the same scheme, is government employee Irene Dokoza, who is alleged to have been a frontwoman for the national president of the Nomads bikie gang, Sleiman Tajjour, and his de facto, Susan Nehme, to try to obtain $1.3 million to buy a property.

Police intercepted phone calls, text messages and emails and claim these prove the accused intended to deceive banks through fraudulent documents.

“Make sure you don’t forget to say John is putting it in a business ... not my personal name,” Nehme is alleged to have told Dokoza.

In addition, on October 6, 2015, Tajjour contacted Bazouni urging him to hurry with the loans, saying, “My wife’s living at Uncle Jimmy’s house, [expletive] one bedroom with my two kids man, like please, I really need a place for them.”

“Utilising co-offenders in trusted positions, it was an extremely sophisticated and complex attempt to obtain finance using fraud,’’ said police.

In the wake of the allegations, Siobhan Hayden of the MFAA advised brokers to remain vigorous in order to prevent involvement with fraudulent transactions.

"Brokers should use reasonable steps in confirming both the identify and financial position of a customer," she told Australian Broker. "These include, but are not limited to, customer names being correct on all documents (not first name and surname transcribed differently on different documents), net taxable income is generally not a rounded figure and that the customer’s position and salary correlates reasonably. Another key concern would be if a customer is advised that they need additional funds to meet a desired LVR - say 80% - and then the customer furnishes the additional funding within days.

"All brokers have the right to refuse business and in the first instance of suspected fraud, take detailed notes and then notify their aggregator."