Business reporter for the NZ Herald

'I'll totally stop complaining' - What husband said to wife at heart of $9m mortgage fraud

Eli Devoy arriving at court on Friday with her lawyer Quentin Duff. Photo / Greg Bowker
Eli Devoy arriving at court on Friday with her lawyer Quentin Duff. Photo / Greg Bowker

When the police raided the Auckland home of fraudster Eli Devoy, they found a "veritable Aladdin's cave of compromising material".

Amongst the trove was a note to Devoy from her husband, entreating her to remain in their marriage.

"To make it work I promise to totally stop complaining about fraud if you promise to stop talking as if I am the cause of all your problems," the note said.

Devoy's explanation of the note was that it was a warning about fraud and concerned a real estate agent.

"I have found that Mrs Devoy was very much at the centre of the various frauds perpetrated on the banks," Judge Brooke Gibson said on Friday.

"Mr Devoy had good reason to be concerned about his wife's activities," Judge Gibson said.

Eli Devoy was last week found guilty on a raft of charges, including 17 for obtaining by deception, two for dishonestly using a document and one of using forged documents.

The 47-year-old, who has also gone by the name Ellie Stone, (which is a translation of her birth name Sarsangi) and Eli Ghorbani, was acquitted on two of the charges she faced.

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

Devoy, according to the Serious Fraud Office, conducted a series of property sales and purchases that deceived banks into approving mortgage applications that contained false information and supporting documents.

The offending, which took place between July 2007 and December 2010, followed a pattern where those involved 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.

Some of the Auckland woman's family was also involved in the scheme, which the Serious Fraud Office says involved 11 properties and $9.2 million.

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 three charges for 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.

Prosecutor Todd Simmonds said a sentence of imprisonment was inevitable for Devoy when she and the other offenders come back to the Auckland District Court on August 17.
The charges she was found guilty of carry maximum penalties ranging from three to 10 years' jail.

Judge Gibson granted Devoy bail but told her:

"You will be getting a custodial sentence."

During Friday's hearing when the judge revealed his verdicts, Simmonds said Devoy had previous convictions for fraud.

While disclosing she was convicted on six fraud-related charges, the prosecutor did not go into more detail.

- NZ Herald

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