AN IRISH doctor who staged a burglary at the Bedfordshire estate he was renting has been jailed after investigations uncovered a £1million mortgage fraud.
Surgeon Anthony McGrath, 46, of Clarence Road, St Albans was described as ‘conniving and deceitful’ by police investigators.
Faced with mounting debts, the court heard the fraudster compulsively lied in the hope of receiving a large insurance pay out.
He has now been sentenced to eight years in prison after being found guilty of fraud by false representation and committing acts with intent to pervert the course of justice.
His wife, Anne-Louise McGrath, was found not guilty of all charges.
Mr McGrath claimed almost 100 items had been stolen from a burglary at the Luton Hoo Estate he was renting with his wife in 2015.
These included a £35,000 Persian rug, valuable antiques and a 19th century red marble rococo fire surround.
Mr McGrath even shipped some items he claimed were stolen to his family home in Ireland, without realising the van he had hired was fitted with a tracker.
Officers soon began to suspect that the burglary wasn’t quite as it seemed and realised it had been staged.
The investigation led police to uncover three counts of mortgage fraud totalling more than £1million.
False tax returns in the couple’s name had been sent to the bank and copies were discovered in their study, with Mr McGrath’s fingerprints on them.
During the trial, the jury heard how McGrath compulsively lied, including faking a salary report from a hospital he had stopped working at months earlier.
He attempted to get a better price for antiques by telling the dealer he had given his time, and thousands of pounds, to a Syrian children's refugee charity.
He also lied to a potential buyer of a holiday home, saying that the contract was late because he was working in Jordan for a French medical charity.
Presiding Judge Barbara Mensah, said:“McGrath has demonstrated pathological levels of dishonesty and arrogance, and took every opportunity to attack and defraud his insurance company.”
Detective Constable Dave Brecknock of Bedfordshire Police said Mr McGrath was not as clever as he thought.
“Despite the complexities of the case, the motive was simple – this conniving and deceitful man intentionally broke the law in order to gain hundreds of thousands of pounds,” he said.
“But this goes to show that no matter who you are, how clever you think you might be, you cannot get away with breaking the law.”