It's not a surprise. It's what banks do in the absence of enforcement.
If Julian Watts is a conspiracy theorist, as his detractors would have you believe, he doesn’t exactly look the part. The former consultant, once an adviser to bosses of international companies, has the considered air of a regional accountant rather than someone who has taken leave of his senses.I have come to the conclusion that financial innovation and deregulation has fraud and corruption as its ultimate goal.
Yet the otherwise mild-mannered Mr Watts, 56, has some extraordinary allegations to make. “The inconvenient truth,” he says, “is that several UK banks are engaged in persistent, serious organised crime against the public.”
From a bedroom in his modest family home in Guildford, Surrey, Mr Watts has been working around the clock for the past year or so to compile evidence that he claims suggests that banks and other financial firms are falsifying documents.
He alleges that his documents show they are forging signatures, including on papers used in court proceedings for cases such as small business disputes and mortgage repossessions.
So far his “bank signature forgery campaign” has produced 11 files of evidence. From these carefully indexed dossiers, he has compiled 136 separate “crime reports”, each relating to a distinct case of alleged signature forgery or document manipulation.
His claims are denied by the banks, yet he isn’t entirely out on a limb. Anthony Stansfeld, police and crime commissioner for Thames Valley, called the evidence “overwhelming”. Steve Baker, a Conservative MP and former member of the Treasury committee, said the files suggested that, at some banks, “anyone is signing” key documents, prompting concerns that home repossessions may have amounted to “fraudulent transactions”.
It's not just a random consequence of policy, it is a goal.