An indictment has already been drawn up in this case and has now been sent to court. The group of defendants included a notary public, who was preparing notarial deeds as part of his activities. Everyone is responsible for committing several hundred crimes. Estimates show that the total amount of fraud was $ 23 million. However, over a hundred families were injured in the entire case.
Investigators found that in the period from 2004 to 2009 in the Slawskie Volvoship a group of closely related people was active, which by conducting various types of business activity (usually it was credit brokerage, legal assistance in debt-relief cases, etc.) granted loans against real estate . By introducing sneaky provisions to the contract for borrowers, she led unconscious people to sign unfavorable contracts. As a result, which most often took place, the pledged property was taken over.
Usual penalty interest
The victims of scammers were most often people with serious financial problems, incapable of life, in the elderly, showing considerable naivety and excessive trust in lenders. They were misled as to the real purpose and nature of the signed contract, issued their own bills of exchange and granted notarial powers of attorney to sell their property.
At the very beginning, the contracts were concluded for a relatively short period of time, usually 3 or 6 months. High interest rates were applied (up to 7% in the whole month), the return of the loan was secured by an entry on the property’s mortgage, as well as the borrower had to grant a power of attorney to sell it. In a situation where the loan was not repaid on time, penalty interest was applied, usually in the amount of 1% for each day of delay.
When the Anti-usury Act was adopted, the loan agreement was renamed to sell bills of exchange. Borrowers were required to issue bills of exchange. One group of bills of exchange concerned the sum of the loan, together with interest, while the other took the form of criminal bills of exchange, which the signing party undertook to buy in the event of default on the former.
In the course of the investigation it was found that the promissory notes amounted to even 200% of the total amount of the loan granted. However, even a small delay related to the purchase of even one of them caused a colossal increase in debt, which the debtor was no longer able to repay objectively. Lack of repayment meant taking over the property by lenders. It is worth emphasizing that their value significantly exceeded the size of the alleged debt.
Property taken over by fraudsters
In a situation where a person could not buy their promissory notes, dishonest lenders took the final step in taking over the property. Having signed a power of attorney in the form of a notarial deed, they sold real estate. It should be emphasized that the content of the power of attorney contained a minimum price at which the property could be sold, and the price was significantly below market norms.
The aggrieved parties were not aware of what they were actually giving the power of attorney for, and in fact the trick of fraudsters was that it was a technical way enabling the forfeiture of the object being a security measure and such a construction is prohibited in Polish law.
Shortly after the contract was signed, real estate in the form of flats, houses and farms was taken over. The fraudsters first made their apparent sales to themselves or with related entities, and then they were sold on the free market.
The purpose of this was to hide the way a person became the owner of a specific property. The colloquial language is simply about money laundering. To authenticate the legality of their business, they used the help and authority of a notary office.
Victims concluding a contract in the form of a notarial deed took for granted that everything takes place in the majesty of applicable law and therefore their interests are duly protected. The reality, however, turned out to be completely different, as they were to find out in the near future.
One of the notaries heard a number of allegations, including: failure to comply with obligations and exceeding powers in order to achieve financial gain. In addition, contrary to applicable regulations, he did not ensure adequate protection of the rights and interests of the parties, as well as victims, he did not provide adequate explanations. Ultimately, the acts he prepared were unlawful. Through his actions, he helped accused persons to commit frauds and money laundering.
In addition to actions aimed at prosecuting the accused, the Gliwice prosecutor’s office has undertaken a number of civil-legal actions that aim to annul defective notarial deeds. At this time, up to 34 actions carried out in the form of a notarial deed were annulled (24 rulings are already final).
As a result, two residential properties were recovered for victims. The rest of the cases are currently subject to court proceedings.