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"Shocking" increase in fraud levels

The Liberal Democrat's treasury spokesman Vince Cable has claimed that the recent increase in fraud "is truly shocking".

Speaking to the Times, the British politician said that there are a growing number of mortgage fraud cases being unveiled amid the economic downturn and warned regulators to be on their guard for people turning to financial crime as a result of the recession.

His comments were made following new research from the Times, which found that the UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA) had banned over 50 per cent more finance firms from practicing over the last year.

A total of 107 firms were prohibited from operating, 33 per cent of which were in the mortgages sector.

Mortgage brokers Peter and James Dean of Dorset became the latest firm to be banned by the FSA over regulatory failures last week.

Mr Cable claimed "it is essential that the authorities remain vigilant" to the potential fraud threat.