A SOLICITOR was suffering "battered wife syndrome" when she fraudulently borrowed nearly €1m in mortgage bridging loans, a court heard.
Mother-of-two Mary Miley (56) and mortgage broker Noel Ryan (67) took out loans using false documents to develop property - but all the money is now gone.
Both were remanded on bail for sentencing next week at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Miley, of Duncairn Avenue, Bray, Co Wicklow, pleaded guilty to sample fraud charges between January 2006 and February 2008.
Ryan, of Ballinapierce, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, pleaded guilty to a single fraud charge of aiding and abetting Miley.
The court heard that 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 €179,100 mortgage from Start Mortgages in January 2006.
The Law Society removed Miley from the roll of solicitors in 2009.
Her husband is on long-term disability and suffers from alcohol dependence, meaning she has been the sole breadwinner, the court was told.
It also heard that medical reports stated that she suffered domestic violence, aggression and mental torture all her married life.
The report diagnosed her with "battered wife syndrome".
Ryan, now retired and in receipt of a pension, was the mortgage broker who acted as an accomplice to Miley - even though he knew the loan applications were made out to Mary Doore, which was the solicitor's maiden name.
Detective Garda David Coyne told the court that Miley was pretending to be two different people. For one loan of around €200,000, intended for the purchase 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 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.
The court heard that the mortgage company relied almost exclusively on the fact that a solicitor was standing over the documents to establishing the bona fides of the documents.
Money was borrowed from SPL 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".
She took out a loan in February 2008 against a property in Wicklow town which is owned by a Wicklow native who lives in New Zealand but returns home every so often, Det Gda Coyne said.
Miley and Ryan drew down €750,000 from SPL and Ryan received €11,400 as commission.
None of this has been repaid and the court heard the money was spent on buying and building of development sites which the pair had hoped to sell on for profit.
The mortgage from Start Mortgages has been discharged fully, said Miley's defence counsel Feargal Kavanagh
He said his client never lead an extravagant lifestyle, that she had practised as a country solicitor for 25 years and was well respected and held in high esteem by colleagues.
Judge Leonie Reynolds adjourned sentencing until next Monday to consider the evidence.