A mother and daughter have been jailed after the mother assumed the identity of a dead landlady to make more than £1m in a 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.
De Cruz (pictured) was jailed for five years and Moorcroft sentenced to three years imprisonment.
In 2014, the duo conspired with others to rent a property in Kensington, west London, using fake documents, Scotland Yard said.
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 £1.2m loan against the property.
The loan was approved in October 2014 and the funds transferred to Moorcroft’s Dubai bank accounts, from where they were later withdrawn in cash.
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.
The proceeds of the fraud have never been recovered.
Det Con Richard Kirk, of the Met, said: “As these women conducted this devious fraud, it is clear that it didn’t occur to them that official agencies would be able to see through their scheme and this was their undoing.
“Although the wider investigation to trace additional members of the network is ongoing, it is clear that De Cruz and Moorcroft played key roles in the execution of this crime.
“It is my hope that their incarceration has seriously disrupted the activities of any additional members of the group.”