Scottish boxing promoter and former lightweight boxer Barry Hughes recently pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud and is now facing some lengthy jail time. Between 2004 and 2006, Hughes reported his wife’s income on two mortgage applications as upwards of £160,000 a year and obtained £1,287,955 in mortgage loans as a result. The trouble is, his wife didn’t have any income at the time Hughes secured the mortgage loans.
So how did the fraud come to light? Unrelated litigation records. In 2006, Hughes’s wife, Jacqueline, learned that Hughes had cheated on her with a former Miss Scotland, Michelle Watson. She promptly filed for divorce and in the divorce documents stated that she had been financially dependent on her husband both prior to and after their marriage in 2003. The documents also indicated that she hadn’t worked since the birth of their first child in 2000. This picture of Jacqueline Hughes’ income doesn’t exactly match the picture Barry Hughes painted on the mortgage loan applications. Jacqueline and Barry Hughes ultimately reconciled, but the divorce documents helped pave the road to mortgage fraud charges against both parties, and a possible prison sentence for Barry Hughes.
We tell people time and time again how helpful litigation searches can be in most every investigation. This case is a great illustration as to how. Although this case handles the criminal context, we’ve found that litigation records can be equally as valuable in the civil context. Litigation documents have led us to everything from complex corporate structure charts relevant to asset searches to adverse information about a person or company whose background we are investigating. We also find generally that litigation opponents are great people to talk to. They often have an axe to grind and are more than willing to give you information on the company or person you’re investigating.