The Land Registry has revealed that it paid out £5.3 million in compensation for fraud and inaccuracies within its register over the past 12 months, its annual report reveals.
The organisation, which recently fended off being privatised by the government, says in its defence that the lost taxpayer funds represent just 0.00008% of the title value of property in its register.
Also, it has introduced a new state-of-the art fraud management system to enhance its fraud resilience while continuing to provide protection to the victims of fraud and unforeseen errors in the register.
This multi-million pound pay-out comes during a 12-month period when mortgage and property fraud, which is facilitated by criminals duping solicitors, estate agents as well as the Land Registry, has been rising.
In December last year the Land Registry released figures that showed the level of property fraud – which is when criminal attempt to sell homes that don’t belong to them – had doubled over the past 10 years and more than quadrupled in terms of value from £7 million to £25 million between 2013 and 2017.
And recent figures from fraud prevention service Cifas show that mortgage fraud by production of false documents increased by 14% in the first six months of 2019.
In November last year we reported on the case of Sarah Broadbelt, who was able to circumvent AML checks and sell a home that she did not own for £75,000. The crime was only picked up after the title of the property was checked.