A Wicklow solicitor who fraudulently borrowed nearly €1m in mortgage bridging loans in an "elaborate and sophisticated deception" has been jailed for three years.
Mother-of-two 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 January 2006 and February 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 October 2007 and February 2008.
She also obtained a short-term mortgage from Start Mortgages of €179,100 in January 2006.
Now retired and in receipt of an old age pension, 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 Miley had forged documents in her maiden name.
Detective Garda David Coyne, from the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, told Shane Costelloe BL prosecuting, that Miley was pretending to be two different people.
In the other cases she had forged documents in other people's name. In one case she used a completely fictitious name.
For one of the loans of over €200,000 intended for the purchase of 3/4 acre of land in Clonroche, Co Wexford, the signature on the passport had been forged. Planning permission for the site had been issued to someone else but Mary Miley inserted her own name.
A P60 revenue document was also forged, as was the site valuation which included a picture of a house next door.
Some of the loans taken from SPL were taken to make repayments on the loan fraudulently obtained from Start Mortgages in 2006 when that company became concerned about the debt and began actively chasing Miley for the balance.
Counsel described this as “borrowing from Peter to pay Paul”.
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 SC, 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.
She said that Miley suffers from anxiety and depression but that these conditions had not impeded her ability to carry out the offences.
The Law Society removed Miley from the roll of solicitors in 2009.
Her husband is on long term disability and she has been the sole bread winner.
Ryan was a former carpenter and fitter whose business closed in the nineties. 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.