Friday 23 February 2018

Fraudster had ‘battered housewife syndrome’ when borrowing €1m, court hears

Mary Miley Photo: Collins Courts.
Mary Miley Photo: Collins Courts.

Declan Brennan

A Wicklow solicitor was suffering from battered housewife syndrome when she fraudulently borrowed nearly €1m in mortgage bridging loans a court has 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.

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.

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 Leonie Reynolds adjourned sentencing until next Monday to consider the evidence.

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.

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.

The court heard that the mortgage company relied almost exclusively on the fact that a solicitor was standing over the documents to establishing the bonafides of the documents.

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”.

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 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.

He said his client never lead an extravagant lifestyle, that she had practiced as a country solicitor for 25 years and was well respected and held in high esteem by colleagues.

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 bread winner.

He said medical reports stated that she suffered domestic violence, aggression and mental torture all her married life. The report diagnosed her with “battered wife syndrome”.

She has a chronic depressive illness and could have carried out some actions without fully appreciating the consequences, the report continued. 

He said that her decisions have led to her complete ruin.

Colman Fitzgerald SC, defending Ryan, said his client was a former carpenter and fitter whose business closed in the nineties. Ryan then retrained as an insurance and mortgage broker.

He said Ryan had a modest education and may not have been qualified or sophisticated enough in matters of the world.

He is now extremely unwell and has an unconfirmed diagnosis of early Alzheimer's disease.

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