Blackpool mum and daughter convicted of £1m property fraud

A mother and daughter have been convicted of property fraud after the mother assumed the identity of a dead landlady to make more than £1 million.
Laylah Scarlett De Cruz who has been convicted of property fraudLaylah Scarlett De Cruz who has been convicted of property fraud
Laylah Scarlett De Cruz who has been convicted of property fraud

Laylah Scarlett De Cruz, 31, who lives in Dubai, and Diane Jean Moorcroft, 62, of Warley Road, North Shore, were both found guilty at Southwark Crown Court of conspiracy to commit fraud.

In 2014, De Cruz and Moorcroft conspired with others to rent a property in Kensington, west London, using fake documents, Scotland Yard said.

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When the tenancy of the property had been secured, Moorcroft changed her name by deed poll to that of the genuine owner of the property, who was deceased.

She then travelled to Dubai where she opened bank accounts - using a new UK passport - in the dead woman's name.

After that, she made her way back to London, where she successfully applied for a loan of £1.2 million against the property.

The loan was approved in October 2014 and the funds were transferred to Moorcroft's Dubai bank accounts, from where they were later withdrawn in cash.

The money has never been recovered.

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Detectives launched an investigation later that month after the Land Registry reported suspicious activity around the Kensington property.

Moorcroft was arrested in February 2015 at her home and De Cruz was arrested as she entered the UK from Dubai in May last year.

Detective Constable Richard Kirk, of the Met, said: "Having gained access to the property by renting it, Moorcroft duped a solicitor into believing that she was the rightful owner and signed documents to that effect.

"The suspects then approached a broker and obtained a bridging loan of £1.2 million against the property.

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"De Cruz played a pivotal role, she recruited her mother and persuaded her to change her name to that of the deceased owner of the address and open bank accounts in that name.

"Having been promised a percentage of the proceeds of the fraud, Moorcroft willingly took part."

De Cruz and Moorcroft were released on bail to return for sentencing on March 10.