A surgeon told the police that a cottage he was renting on a country house estate had been burgled so that he could make a fraudulent £180,000 insurance claim, a jury heard this week.
Anthony McGrath and his GP wife Anne-Louise were allegedly up to their necks in debt and hoped that lying about a burglary would raise the funds needed to renovate their new £1.1 million pound home, it was alleged.
The Irish surgeon claimed that valuable antiques, jewellery and a 19th century marble fireplace had been taken, but the police became suspicious because of an absence of clues.
Detectives were said to have discovered that they had run up massive debts and had made false claims on mortgage applications.
Before the reported burglary, Mr McGrath was trying to raise funds by selling off antiques. He allegedly told the owner of one antique business that he was trying to raise money to build a child refuge in Syria.
But prosecutor Charlene Sumnall told the jury: “This was all a lie. Anthony McGrath was trying to raise as much money as possible in early 2015, not for the children of Syria, but to alleviate the significant financial pressure facing him and his wife. ”
The couple were renovating a home in St Albans while paying rent on another property and for private education of their four children Despite the money troubles, Anthony McGrath spent £50,000 on a Maserati, later telling the police he was “not particularly good with money.”
Ms Sumnall said: “In an nutshell, this case is about greed.
“These offences were motivated by the defendants’ desperate need for money. They were in dire financial straits, and resorted to dishonest and fraudulent means to alleviate their pressing financial problems.”
She alleged there were three episodes of fraudulent conduct committed by the husband and wife, who have been married since 2009.
Both work in the medical profession – he is an orthopaedic surgeon and she is a self-employed GP. She also looked after their four children and her elderly mother.
They had lived in Aberdeen and Southampton before he went to work at the Royal National Orthapaedic Hospital in Stanmore, north west London.
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