Forging signatures! Arguably, one of the most clichéd crimes of all time. As alleged by a police commissioner, this most clichéd crime of all time, is committed by high street banks of UK in an organized way that has led to cause loss of billions of pounds of their customers because it lets them win, not only court cases but also repossess their homes.
To Anthony Stansfeld, this is a “national scandal and embarrassment.” Mr. Stansfeld is the police and crime commissioner for Thames Valley and has urged the National Crime Agency to launch a criminal investigation straightway.
The first clues supposedly came from Mr. Stansfeld’s review of signature forgeries in September and November last year. Lynne Ownes, the director-general of NCA has the report of Stansfeld’s review.
The exact words used by Mr. Stansfeld in the letter that is sent to victims of this fraud were,” clear and compelling.” These words were used to describe the evidence of the crime.
“Banks and others,” Mr. Stansfeld wrote,” have systematically forged signatures, fabricated evidence, and made false statements in court cases against customers.” Further on the letter spoke about,“ Lives have been destroyed, families evicted, people have been bankrupted.” About the cliché attitude of this crime, Mr. Stensfeld stretched,” This has been happening for at least a decade, potentially on an industrial scale. The economic loss to customers could run into billions.”
Last year, in the same month that’s going on, the NCA and Financial Conduct Authority was asked by the House of Commons Treasury Select to investigate forgery. The result of this investigation was laid doubts upon when some victims alleged about the lack of progress in the matter. Bank documents and debt collection and repossession orders are the three things that allegations are primarily focused on. Victims argue that the proofs handed over by the banks contain forged signatures.
Results from the Bank of Signature Forgery Campaign reveal many examples of unmatched signatures. A month before the current one, the Treasury Select Committee heard from FCA’s boss Andrew Bailey who admitted being unaware of this issue. Committee MP Steve Baker affirmed having seen the employee-signed documents, on which he commented,” I have been shown various signatures that demonstrate it is the case that within some institutions processes are taking place where it appears that anyone is signing these documents.” He added further,“ Whether or not the repossession is justified, it does seem that is, therefore, a fraudulent transaction.”
Continuing, he also questioned Mr. Bailey,” Are you aware that this phenomenon may be happening? If so, what are you doing?” To which Mr. Bailey’s answer was, “I am aware of it. Yes, it does get talked about. If you would like to bring the evidence to us, we will look at it.” Mr. Bailey is currently the governor of the Bank of England.
A take from NCA spokesperson said how they are,” continuing to assess the material with the FCA and SFO to consider whether there are grounds for a criminal or regulatory investigation. We are making that assessment thoroughly.”
It is noteworthy that similar forgery cases in many countries have led to multibillion-dollar settlements in which victims amounted to be in thousands.