Acting Business Editor for the NZ Herald

Eli Devoy, the woman at the heart of $9m mortgage fraud

Eli Devoy arriving at court this morning with her lawyer Quentin Duff. Photo / Greg Bowker
Eli Devoy arriving at court this morning with her lawyer Quentin Duff. Photo / Greg Bowker

A woman at the heart of a $9.2 million mortgage fraud has been found guilty and convicted of nearly all of the charges she faced.

Eli Devoy, 47, four of her family members and an associate were on trial earlier this year in the Auckland District Court.

Devoy, according to prosecutors, was at the centre of a mortgage fraud between 2007 and 2010, where banks lent millions on the back of false information and where properties were bought and sold between family and friends.

Devoy was this morning found guilty by Judge Brooke Gibson of 17 charges of obtaining by deception, two charges for dishonestly using a document and one of using forged documents.

She was acquitted on two charges of obtaining by deception.

Devoy's brothers, Mehrdad Ghorbani and Mehrzad Ghorbani, were found guilty of six charges and four charges respectively of obtaining by deception.

Her sister-in-law, Nasrin Kardani, was found guilty of obtaining by deception and Devoy's brother-in-law Hassan Salarpour was acquitted on three of the same charges.

An associate of Devoy, Javad Toraby, was found not guilty of two charges.

The Serious Fraud Office said the scheme involved 11 properties in the Auckland area and amounted to approximately $9.2 million.

"This is an important case for genuine buyers who are applying for mortgages as the cost of borrowing is increased by this sort of fraudulent conduct. We will continue to work with banks who are targeted with false information," said SFO Director, Julie Read. "Every lender should be monitoring this risk and people applying for mortgages should be aware that there are significant penalties for those who do not provide truthful information."

Prosecutor Todd Simmonds said in court this morning that a sentence of imprisonment was inevitable for Devoy. The charges she was found guilty of carry maximum penalties ranging from three to 10 years' jail.

Those found guilty today will be sentenced on August 17.

Simmonds, during the trial, said the offending in the case followed a pattern where the defendants would purchase a property at a reduced price, often at a mortgagee sale.

Properties, in some instances, were sold on the same day for a higher price to a related party.

- NZ Herald

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