'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'
An Irish doctor who committed a £1m (€1.15m) insurance fraud demonstrated "pathological levels of dishonesty and arrogance," a judge has said.
Surgeon Anthony McGrath was given an eight-year prison sentence at Luton Crown Court yesterday after being found guilty of fraud offences and perverting the course of justice.
The court heard that McGrath, who is from Somerville in Co Meath, had spiralling debt and staged a robbery at his home and attempted to carry out a £180,000 (€207,000) insurance fraud.
McGrath (46) staged a burglary in 2015 at the rental home his family were living in on the Luton Hoo Estate of St Albans.
He told investigators that 100 items were taken during the alleged robbery, including a Persian rug worth £35,000 (€40,000), jewellery, artwork, silverware and clocks.
Police found that he had shipped some of the items he had claimed were stolen in a van to his family's home in Meath. McGrath did not know that the vehicle had been fitted with a tracker.
The investigation into the staged burglary led police to uncover three counts of mortgage fraud worth over £1m (€1.15m).
Copies of false tax returns which had been sent to their bank were found by police in their home, with McGrath's finger prints on them.
The jury heard that in a bid to cover his debts he lied about his finances to try to get money from people.
McGrath has a keen interest in antiques and the court heard he tried to get a better price for the sale of them by telling the dealer he had given extensive time and money to a Syrian children's refugee charity.
He also faked a salary report from a hospital he no longer worked at, and he lied to a potential buyer of a holiday home that the contract was late as he claimed he was working for a French medical charity in Jordan.
Following a trial that lasted more than four months at Luton Crown Court, McGrath was found guilty of fraud by false representation and committing acts with intent to pervert the course of justice. Yesterday he was sentenced to eight years in prison.
His wife, Anne-Louise McGrath, was found not guilty of all charges.
Judge Barbara Mensah 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 welcomed the verdict, saying it showed that nobody is above the law.
He 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.