Get all the most important news and events to your inbox.
A chartered surveyor who inflated the value of a Stafford house by £3million has been jailed for two years for fraud.
Christopher Jarvis, 66 and from Longdon, near Lichfield, made the false valuation on behalf of Stafford businessman Paul Cope, who owned Barn Bank Manor in Hyde Lea, Stafford.
Jarvis ran Rugeley-based company, Jarvis Surveyors, and had a business relationship with Cope and his firm Kingdom Finance Ltd.
Cope bought the property in 2001 for £425,000 and, after renovating and extending it, successfully applied for a £3 million mortgage in 2008, secured against Barn Bank Manor. To support the application, Jarvis submitted a valuation report which said the home was worth £4.25 million. The bank accepted Jarvis’ valuation and provided the mortgage to Cope.
An investigation by Staffordshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit found that Jarvis had inflated the value of the property – which was actually worth around £1.2 million – by 300 per cent.
Cope and Jarvis were arrested and subsequently charged with making a misrepresentation to Yorkshire Bank under the Fraud Act 2006. Police liaison with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors led to them conducting a discipline investigation which resulted in Jarvis’ suspension pending the criminal inquiry’s outcome.
Cope admitted the fraud at Stafford Crown Court in June 2010 and was subsequently sentenced to four years’ imprisonment. This sentence was to run concurrently with a jail term of five years and four months given for a separate £25 million leasing fraud.
Jarvis denied the charge but was found guilty by jurors at Shrewsbury Crown Court on February 14. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment at the same court today (March 18).
DC Mark Kelsall said:
“Jarvis had a substantial business relationship with Cope, from which he benefited financially. We uncovered Jarvis’ massively inflated valuation of Barn Bank Manor while we were investigating Cope’s leasing fraud.
“Despite the £4.25 million figure, Jarvis insisted that his valuation was correct, disputing the evidence of expert surveyors and estate agents. But his story didn’t stack up with jurors who convicted him last month.”
Detective Inspector Andy Spiers, head of the Economic Crime Unit, added:
“Today’s sentence reflects the very serious nature of Cope and Jarvis’ mortgage fraud. Fraud becomes a hidden ‘tax’ on all sectors of the economy and is harmful to local communities. Staffordshire Police will continue to work closely with colleagues in the financial sector to combat serious fraud and exploit every opportunity to deprive criminals of the proceeds of such illegal activity.”