Mother and daughter await sentencing for property fraud where they fooled estate agents

A mother and daughter face sentencing for their parts in a property fraud in which they fooled estate agents and lenders.

Laylah De Cruz, 31, and her mother, Dianne Moorcroft, 62, are due to be sentenced on March 10 following a nine-day trial at Southwark Court.

The pair had taken part in a plot to secure a £1.2m bridging loan on a £3m property in Kensington, London.

Moorcroft had changed her name by deed poll to that of the real owner of the property, and took out a passport in that name.

Another member of the gang, calling himself Mark Armstrong, was renting the property from the real owner. He then went to solicitors claiming the owner wanted to sell up and move to Dubai.

Moorcroft went with him on a second visit to the solicitor to back up the story.

Fincorp was then persuaded to transfer £1,196,108 to a bank account in Dubai as a bridging loan, ahead of the sale of the property.

The money was withdrawn in cash before a Land Registry alert could be acted on.

De Cruz’s role in the scam was revealed by texts she sent her mother, encouraging her to join the scam for £30,000, which was then upped to £100,000.

Southwark Court heard that De Cruz’s boyfriend, Karl Cronin, 50, masterminded the fraud but is on the run.

Cronin is reportedly wanted in connection with a £5m property fraud in Chelsea and Fulham eight years ago – the case was featured in a Crimewatch appeal.

He is known to have used 11 aliases and targeted estate agents by claiming to be the owner of rented properties on which the mortgage had been fully paid.

He would then remortgage the properties, take the cash and leave the rightful owner with the bill.


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  1. Rob Hailstone

    This is not the first time a fraudster has changed their name by deed poll to that of the real owner of the property, and then obtained a passport in that name. I am not entirely sure of the process involved, but it seems far too easy.

    If an agent, conveyancer or lender is presented with a Fraudulently Obtained Genuine (FOG) passport, what chance do they have of spotting a potential fraud, none!

    Sounds like trying to shut the stable door after the horse has bolted.

    1. NewsBoy

      I think the whole point here is that LR will allow you to register to receive notifications if any activity occurs on any property you own and give you the chance to avoid this problem. It should be very useful for all landlords.

      1. LondonR90

        It’s not just for landlords. Anyone can put an alert on for a property. You can monitor up to 10 properties.

        You can also put a safeguard on the transfer of your property into another name stopping anyone doing so unless a solicitor certifies the application has been made by you. If you live in the property you can do this for £40 but if you do not live in it and own it privately there is no cost.

        Makes sense for people who own properties and leave them empty for whatever reason.

  2. Will

    I hope they are given a long custodial sentence to discourage others. Fraud is becoming a true problem to everyone.

  3. seenitall

    Perhaps the passport should have on it a record of the change of name on it and the date when changed to help spot people who have changed their name by deed poll or some form of identifier to indicate a name change has occured.


    1. gk1uk2001

      That would work if they are simply changing the name on a current passport, but I suspect that they are actually obtaining a brand new passport therefore this wouldn’t work.

  4. smile please

    Speaking of charges on a property wondering if somebody could offer some assistance.


    A close friend of mine split from his partner a number of years back. He was the only name on the mortgage (he is still living there and paying the mortgage for last 5/6 years) and his partner at the time put some money down for the deposit on the property (although no agreement was in writing).

    As things tend to happen they decided to go their separate ways. He did not have the money to give her the deposit back she put into the property.

    He “Thinks” she registered a charge on the property in the event of him selling it.

    He has been toying with the idea of selling for sometime (messer) but reluctant to sell due to this possible charge on the property.

    I ran a land reg check but could not see her name or £ as a registered as a charge.

    Would this have shown up if a charge was in place? am i reading it wrong? do i need to do another search for him?

    FYI – he is a lovely fella and happy to pay her original amount and a top up but frightened she will try and lay claim to 50% equity.



    1. Rob Hailstone

      Email me some details smile please and I will see what I can find out


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