Irish doctors on trial in UK over alleged insurance fraud
Anthony and Anne-Louise McGrath accused of lying about burglary to get funds to ease debts
Anne-Louise McGrath and Anthony McGrath are on trial at Luton Crown Court. Photograph: South Beds News.
An Irish surgeon allegedly told police that a cottage he was renting on a country house estate in England had been burgled so that he could make a fraudulent £180,000 insurance claim.
Anthony McGrath and his GP wife Anne-Louise were allegedly heavily in debt and hoped that lying about a burglary would raise the funds needed to renovate their new £1.1 million pound home.
Mr McGrath claimed that antiques, jewellery and marble fireplace were taken but the police became suspicious because of an absence of clues, Luton crown court heard.
Before the reported burglary, Mr McGrath was trying to raise funds by selling off antiques, telling one collector that he was trying to raise money to build a refuge in Syria.
However, prosecutor Charlene Sumnall told the jury Mr McGrath was actually trying to alleviate the “financial pressure facing him and his wife ”.
The court heard that despite the money troubles, he spent £50,000 on a Maserati and later told police he was “not particularly good with money”.
Ms Sumnall said: “In an nutshell, this case is about greed”.
She alleged there were three episodes of fraudulent conduct committed by the couple.
They are alleged to have engaged in three instances of mortgage fraud between 2012 and 2015 which were supported by forged documentation regarding their employment and earning potential.
Mr McGrath is accused of making the false burglary report in order to claim a pay-out of thousands of pounds from his insurer.
Ms McGrath is accused of dishonestly failing to inform an insurer that she had a pair of sapphire diamond earrings and a sapphire diamond ring that her husband had reported as stolen. It is further alleged that she made thousands of pounds from the subsequent sale of the earrings by an auctioneer.
Mr McGrath denies four charges of fraud and one of perverting the course of public justice. Ms McGrath denies five charges of fraud and one of perverting the course of public justice.
When questioned, Mrs McGrath said none of her jewellery had been stolen.
The prosecutor said: “The crown’s case is that Anne-Louise McGrath received this money through the sale of property she knew that her husband had reported stolen. She knew that the earrings where the subject of an insurance claim, and yet dishonestly provided it to Bonham’s so she could benefit from both the proceeds of the sale and the insurance pay-out.”
The jury heard that at around the time of the supposed break-in, Mr McGrath a hired van and drove it to his family’s Georgian country home in Co Meath.
Bedfordshire police and gardaí went to Somerville House on November 26th, 2015 and were said to have found the fireplace that was reported stolen.
Ms Sumnall said: “We are all brought up to believe what doctors tell us, but they hid behind the veneer of their status.
“The reason Mr and Mrs McGrath embarked on this course of conduct was that they were motivated by their desperate need for money,” she said. “Their overdraft was in tens of thousands of pounds (but) there was no reigning in on spending.”
Ms Sumnall added: “It is the Crown’s case that there is clear, credible and compelling evidence illustrating the guilt of both defendants.”
The case continues.