Two convicted in Kilmarnock mortgage fraud case

A man and woman were last week convicted of mortgage fraud.

After an investigation which started off as a drugs and money-laundering probe and a trial lasting almost four weeks, a jury at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court found John McDaid, 29, and 26-year-old Deborah McIlVanney guilty of charges involving mortgages totalling over £200,000.

Events organiser McDaid, of Howard Park Drive, Kilmarnock, was found guilty of inducing Halifax to provide him with a £57,000 mortgage to buy a property in Munro Avenue, Kilmarnock, in June 2005 by falsely claiming that he had an income of £31,200.

McIlvanney, a customer analyst with the National Health Service, was convicted of pretending she had an annual income of £42,000 and fraudulently obtaining a loan of £150,750 from Bradford and Bingley. The money was used to buy a flat at Lancefield Quay in Glasgow, the court heard.

Similar charges against the pair’s co-accused – McDaid’s cousin Ian Schaffer, 28, of Howard Park Drive, and Kevin Kirkwood, 31, of Machrie Road, Kilmarnock, were found not proven.

After the verdict was announced McIlvanney sobbed in the dock and was tossed a packet of paper hankies by a member of her legal team.

During the long trial the jury heard evidence from an array of financial advisers, solicitors and mortgage brokers, as well as police officers, as the prosecution built up a paper trail linking McDaid and McIlvanney with the properties, the mortgages and the income information supplied to back up the loan applications.

McDaid did not give evidence, but McIlvanney went into the witness box to deny any wrongdoing.

She said: “We put our trust in the mortgage brokers as professional people. I have done nothing wrong from day one.”

And she claimed that police had threatened her with 18 years in prison

Said McIlvanney: “When they took my fingerprints, I was threatened that I was going to get strip-searched.”

Sheriff Desmond Leslie deferred sentence until August 5 and called for social enquiry and community service reports.

Bail was continued.

Weeks before the trial was due to start, efforts were made to move it out of Kilmarnock.

Counsel for McDaid claimed that his client’s case would be prejudiced by “undue prejudice” citing, in particular, an article which appeared in the Kilmarnock Standard in April last year.

He said that both the article and its headline referred to money laundering charges which were no longer before the court.

“It mentions the matter of money laundering on several occasions,” said the advocate. “Of course, that is no longer the nature of the beast.”

He also referred to local radio broadcasts about the case “on the hour, every hour throughout the whole of the particular day it was current news”. He argued that the case should be moved to a different court “where my client can be assured that members of the jury haven’t seen or heard” references to money laundering.

The bid was rejected by Sheriff Iona McDonald.

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