A doctor who staged a burglary at his home on the Luton Hoo estate and committed mortgage fraud worth over £1 million has been jailed for eight years.
Surgeon Anthony McGrath, 46, of Clarence Road, St Albans, attempted to swindle his insurance company out of £180,000 by staging a burglary at a house he and his wife were renting on the Luton Hoo estate in 2015.
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.
Anthony McGrath even went as far as to ship some of the items he claimed were stolen to his family home in Ireland, using a hired van that he didn’t realise 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 fake burglary then led police to uncover three counts of mortgage fraud totalling over £1 million.
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.
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.
Anthony McGrath has now been sentenced to eight years in prison .
During the trial, the jury heard how the couple’s mounting debts had led McGrath to carry out the elaborate fraud in the hope of receiving a large insurance pay out.
They 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.
This 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.
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.”
Detective Constable Dave Brecknock said: “This was an incredibly complex three-year investigation and a lengthy court process, with the trial lasting more than four months, so I’m really pleased we have now reached a conclusion, and finally can say that justice has been done.
“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. 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.”
Judge Mensah also commended Detective Constable Brecknock for his professionalism in the investigation.