The fake burglary conducted by surgeon Anthony McGrath at a rented property shared with his wife in the grand Luton Hoo Estate led police to uncover three counts of mortgage fraud totalling more than £1m.
False tax returns in the couple’s name had been sent to the bank and copies were discovered in their study, with Anthony McGrath’s finger prints on them, Bedfordshire Police revealed.
Following a trial which lasted 18 weeks at Luton Crown Court, Anthony McGrath was 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.
Stolen items tracked
Anthony McGrath, 46, from St Albans, conducted the fake burglary in 2015 as an attempt to swindle his insurance company out of £180,000 to try to clear the couple’s mounting debts.
He claimed almost 100 items had been stolen, including a Persian rug worth £35,000, valuable antiques and clocks, and a 19th century red marble rococo fire surround, with ormolu inserts.
However, McGrath’s attempt to ship some of the items he claimed were stolen to his family home in Ireland failed as he used a hired van that he did not realise was fitted with a tracker.
‘Dishonest and arrogant’
The court also heard how Anthony McGrath compulsively lied in an audacious bid to con as much money as possible out of a number of different people.
Her Honour Judge Barbara Mensah, presiding, said: “The offences were sophisticated, detailed, well-planned and carried out over a long period of time.
“McGrath has demonstrated pathological levels of dishonesty and arrogance, and took every opportunity to attack and defraud his insurance company.”
His lies included:
- trying to get a better price for the sale of antiques by telling the dealer he had given his time, and thousands of pounds, to a Syrian children’s refugee charity,
- faking a salary report from a hospital he had stopped working at three months earlier,
- and lying 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.
‘Conniving and deceitful’
Bedfordshire Police detective constable Dave Brecknock noted it was an incredibly complex three-year investigation and a lengthy court process, with the trial lasting more than four months.
“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.
“If you commit crime for your financial gain then you will naturally leave some kind of evidential trail behind you, as was the case with McGrath, and this result proves just how determined and thorough we will be in the pursuit of justice,” he added.