A businessman has been allowed to keep his freedom after admitting a £750,000 mortgage fraud.
Paul Casey stayed out of jail but now faces losing everything he has worked for through a Proceeds of Crime Act investigation, costs applications and the prospect of civil proceedings brought against him by the banks he defrauded.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 43-year-old exaggerated his income to obtain eight mortgages and re-mortgages between 2004 and 2008.
He submitted on application forms that he was earning annual figures of up to £95,000 from his solarium company but one year declared as little as £6,217 salary on tax forms.
Prosecutor Vince Ward told the court one of the mortgages and a remortgage related to Casey's family home and the other properties were purchased for his lettings business.
The court heard although some of the properties are now in negative equity, and one has since been repossessed and sold, prosecutors estimate there would still be around £300,000 available after sales.
Mr Ward said Casey's fraud was a "simple enough plan to lie to financial or mortgage companies about earning" over a prolonged period of time.
Mr Ward said the scam put Casey's tenants' homes at risk.
Casey, of North View, Sunderland, admitted eight fraud charges.
Mr Recorder Nicholas Lumley QC sentenced Casey to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 300 hours unpaid work and £1,668 costs.
The judge told him: "Those were different days perhaps, when the banks took risks and those wanting to obtain a mortgage could fill in the blanks on the forms with abandon.
"In 2004 you did such a thing, you obtained an application for a mortgage in which you lied about your earnings.
"Having got away with it the first time, you did it again and again. You had no regard for the potential consequences of your conduct, no doubt you thought it things went wrong, you could sell up and everything would be alright.
"Banks were exposed, by your, to substantial risk. Banks and people who work for them, normal people doing normal jobs, are put at risk by people like you."
The judge said Casey showed a "cavalier attitude" towards his tenants and his financial responsibilities.
Nick Cartmell, defending, said all of Casey's borrowing was secured and in reality the risks were a lot less than £750,000 and the actual loss was zero.
He said Casey now stands to lose everything he has worked hard for.
Mr Cartmell added: "Back in the 90s and 00s, it was the buy-to-let market and the willingness of banks to lend without checks, in pursuit of bonuses against target lending , which led to all the difficulties that followed.
"It was easy to obtain. This was not a man who set out in 2004 and said 'I'm going to take out eight mortgages over the next four years'.
"What he did was exaggerate his income, got away with it on the first application, got a property and made a success of that property.
"This wasn't a man who set out at the beginning to plan that this would go on and on."
Mr Cartmell said Casey has made a success of his business, despite the dishonesty.
He added: "It is difficult to imagine how, between the Proceeds of Crime Act and the civil proceedings that might arise from the lenders that he will
retain anything of the profit or monies from the last 12 years of his working life.
"He is a decent man, a good man, a family man, a man who has invested in his family, in the community.
"There has been no loss, in fact there has been significant profit that will be taken away from him.
"The last 12 years of work have been for nothing."