A former solicitor has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for his part in a mortgage fraud which netted some £30m over four years.
Jonathan Martin Gilbert, of Penarth, South Glamorgan, was struck off the roll in 2010 in a case described by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal as ‘one of the worst’ that had come before it. His activities caused the failure of Berkshire firm Willmett, of which he was a partner.
Following the lifting of reporting restrictions yesterday it was revealed that Gilbert (pictured) had been recruited by Mark Entwistle, a former airline pilot who made a string of bogus mortgage applications on properties in the Ascot and Windsor areas between 2005 and 2009.
Entwistle was jailed for 14 years in July.
Southwark Crown Court heard that the conspiracy, which involved mortgage brokers and an accountant, netted over £30m, including £6m in fraudulent multiple mortgages from Royal Bank of Scotland and Northern Rock. Gilbert assisted in the multiple mortgages by failing to register charges on properties, including a house in Ascot which was remortgaged five times.
The fraud began to unravel with the collapse in the property market, leaving the conspirators ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’, the judge, His Honour Martin Beddoe, said.
Sentencing Entwistle, he said: ‘This is a story of arrogance and greed. You thought you were better than anyone else and you were unable to get over the need to show off your wealth.’
Ordering Gilbert to be struck off the roll in 2010, the SDT said: ‘This was without a doubt one of the worst cases that [has] come before the tribunal, and it was quite clear that the respondent could not be trusted and that the public needed to be protected from him.
‘He has not only caused clients to suffer, but also members of the public, his fellow partners and work colleagues, and he has severely damaged the reputation of the profession.’