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O'Connor Bowden

News Item

Surveyor Over-valued Houses

 “Surveyor allegedly over-valued property for Range Rover!” Alison O’Connor

Article: The Estate Agent Today


A senior surveyor married to a police officer is said to have taken part in a £10m mortgage scam in exchange for cars and money.

Mary-Jane Rathie, on trial at the Old Bailey, allegedly overvalued a string of five upmarket London properties in return for gifts of more than £1m from a woman known as Joanne Pier.

Pier used the valuations to secure mortgages from the Bank of Scotland. Altogether, Pier – who has since vanished – obtained £10m of mortgages, of which £9.5m relied on Rathie’s valuations.

In return, Rathie, 43, was said to have received £900,000 in cheques and money transfers plus a Bentley Continental and a Range Rover Sport.

The vehicles, together worth nearly £200,000, were both registered in the name of her husband David, 47, a Metropolitan Police officer.

David Durose, prosecuting, said: “This was payment to Mrs Rathie for her dishonest valuations.”

Rathie, of Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, denies five allegations of fraud between May 2007 and June 2009. Both she and her husband, of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, each deny a charge of concealing criminal property.

Rathie, who worked for Ashdown Lyons in Finchley, North London, and whose RICS membership was suspended for one year last November, came across Pier in 2007. Pier went to Ashdown Lyons with a list of properties that she owned and that she wanted valued.

The court was told that in June 2007, Rathie – who had married the month before – told her employers that Ms Pier had offered her £100,000 as a wedding present, which was twice her annual salary, but that she had declined it.

Mr Durose said: “In June 2007, 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 Rathie valued one property in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, at £4.2m, which was nearly twice the £2.35m value given by an independent surveyor later instructed by the Bank of Scotland to investigate the alleged fraud.

A property at Cadogan Gardens was valued at £3m by Rathie, twice the figure later reached by the independent surveyor.

Mr Durose told jurors it would be ‘ludicrous’ to expect every surveyor to come up with the same value for a property, but that the defendant’s valuations were outside the range that could be expected.