Met officer's wife 'accepted mortgage scam gifts'

A Metropolitan Police officer's wife took part in a £10m mortgage scam in exchange for "gifts" worth £1m, the Old Bailey has heard.

Mary-Jane Rathie, a senior surveyor from Herts, allegedly overvalued London properties for money and high-end cars.

A Bentley Continental and Range Rover Sport were said to be registered in the name of her husband David, who worked with the central London traffic unit.

Mrs Rathie denies five allegations of fraud between May 2007 and June 2009.

She and her husband, 47, each deny a charge of concealing criminal property.

'Dishonest valuations'

Rathie, 43, of Waltham Cross, was said to have received £900,000 in cheques and money transfers, plus the two luxury cars.

David Durose, prosecuting, said the money was used to pay off a mortgage and to buy a new property.

Mrs Rathie is alleged to have provided "dishonestly-inflated" valuations for a woman known as Joanne Pier, who used them to secure millions of pounds in mortgages from the Bank of Scotland.

The offences relate to a riverside property in Chelsea; a flat in Belgravia, near Sloane Square; and another at Chester Mews, at the back of Buckingham Palace, the jury heard.

A fourth property was in the Docklands, east London, and a fifth in Pimlico, central London.

Mr Durose said Ms Pier obtained more than £10m of loans, £9.5m of which relied on valuations by Mrs Rathie, who was managing surveyor in the Finchley office of a large firm of chartered surveyors called Ashdown Lyons.

Wedding present

Ms Pier has since left the country and cannot be found, the court heard.

In June 2007, Mrs Rathie reported to managers that Ms Pier had offered her £100,000 as a wedding present - twice her annual salary, but she had declined it as "totally inappropriate", Mr Durose said.

He added that Mrs Rathie "was able to refuse such an offer, and not only refuse it, but report it. Unfortunately six months later, the position had changed.

He said Mrs Rathie valued the Chelsea property at £4.2 million. It had been valued at £2.35m by an independent surveyor from the Bank of Scotland.

Mr Durose said the Belgravia flat was valued at £3m by Rathie, twice the figure later reached by the independent surveyor.

He told jurors that although different surveyors would give different valuations, the defendant's valuations were outside the range that could be expected.

The trial continues.

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