Solicitor jailed for three years for ‘elaborate deception’

A Wicklow solicitor who fraudulently borrowed nearly €1m in mortgage bridging loans in an “elaborate and sophisticated deception” has been jailed for three years.

Solicitor jailed for three years for ‘elaborate deception’

Mary Miley, aged 56, along with mortgage broker Noel Ryan, aged 67, used forged documents to take out loans as part of a plan to buy and develop residential property. All the money borrowed is now gone.

Miley, of Duncairn Avenue, Bray, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sample charges under the Theft and Fraud Act between Jan 2006 and Feb 2008.

Ryan, of Ballinapierce, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, pleaded guilty to a single charge under the same act, namely that he aided and abetted Miley.

Judge Leonie Reynolds suspended a jail term of 18 months on Ryan on condition that he fully pay back the money he stole within that time.

Miley used a false passport and driving licence to apply for three loans totalling €750,000 from Secured Property Loans Mortgages (SPL) in Oct 2007 and Feb 2008.

She also obtained a short-term mortgage from Start Mortgages of €179,100 in Jan 2006.

Now retired, Ryan was the mortgage broker who acted as an accomplice to Miley. He transferred on two of the loans to SPL, even though he knew the loan applications were made out to Mary Doore, which was the solicitor’s maiden name.

Judge Reynolds said that Miley had violated her position of trust in a most reprehensible manner.

Both mortgage companies had relied on the assumption that she had provided independent legal advice to her client, had checked the veracity of the client’s documents accompanying the application and had provided an undertaking to the companies that the documents were accurate.

In all cases, no separate client existed. In two cases, the mother of two had forged documents in her maiden name.

Detective Garda David Coyne told Shane Costelloe, prosecuting, that Miley was pretending to be two different people.

In the other cases she had forged documents in other people’s names. In one case, she used a completely fictitious name.

Together, Miley and Ryan drew down €750,000 from SPL. Ryan received €11,400 as commission. The court heard that none of this has been repaid and the money was spent in the buying and building of development sites which the pair had hoped to sell on for profit.

The mortgage from Start Mortgages has been fully discharged, Feargal Kavanagh, defending Miley, said.

Judge Reynolds said: “She engaged in a sustained duplicity over time as part of an elaborate and sophisticated deception.”

She said that there was no evidence that Miley has made any material gain or enjoyed a lavish lifestyle. She said that before her “fall from grace,” Miley was a hard-working and well-respected solicitor.

The Law Society removed Miley from the roll of solicitors in 2009.

Her husband is on long-term disability.

Ryan was a former carpenter and fitter whose business closed in the 1990s. Ryan then retrained as an insurance and mortgage broker. He is now extremely unwell and has been diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s disease.

Judge Reynolds noted that his health issues may have impeded his judgement at the time. Ryan brought €4,400 to court as compensation and indicated that the balance of the money he had taken would be repaid.

Judge Reynolds imposed two concurrent sentences of three years imprisonment on Miley and ordered that she receive psychiatric assessment as a matter of urgency.

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