A Greek businessman who defraud UK banks out of some 750 million British Pounds, or $1.18 billion and lived a jet-set lifestyle of high-stakes real estate purchases and casino gambling, has been sentenced to seven years in jail for the scheme he concocted with his partner, who posed as a business counselor.
Achilleas Kallakis and his co-fraudster, Alex Williams, were back in court 18 years after they were convicted in a forgery scheme, after which they changed their names from Stephen Kollakis and Martin Lewis to their new aliases.
They orchestrated Britain’s biggest mortgage fraud with the unwitting assistance of the Allied Irish Bank and the Bank of Scotland, which were said not to have done due diligence and checked on the pair. Kallakis, the British newspaper The Guardian said, tricked a series of bankers into believing he was a super-rich property baron and convinced them to lend him millions to fund lucrative deals.
Using his helicopter and private jet to shuttle between offices in Mayfair and a super-yacht in Monaco, Kallakis appeared to have all the trappings of a successful tycoon. He was well known too on the casino circuit, gambling large sums on backgammon and poker.
The Guardian reported that with loan financing often higher than the value of properties he targeted, Kallakis acquired some of London’s richest properties but to keep up the sham, Kallakis and his inner circle hired actors, built secretive offshore trusts, got fictional backing from an overseas shipping empire and string of bogus references, to stay one step ahead of suspicion.
Kallakis used the money earned from the fraud, to live as a millionaire, buying real estates, Bentley cars, an airplane and helicopter, investigators said. The judge noted that the Bank of Scotland was informed by its lawyers over the risks of a guarantee letter given by a Swiss lawyer who supported Kallakis’ loan applications.