St John's Wood estate agent convicted of mortgage fraud is denied chance to clear her name
PUBLISHED: 13:58 11 March 2013 | UPDATED: 13:58 11 March 2013
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An estate agent who ended up with a criminal record after lying about her earnings to secure a mortgage has failed to persuade top judges to consider quashing her conviction.
Diana Meghrabi, who worked as a lettings agent, told a mortgage broker she earned a £40,000 annual bonus on top of her wages in order to secure a £488,720 mortgage on a £575,000 property in Blair Court, St John’s Wood, in 2007.
Meghrabi, 31, of Middlefield Street, St John’s Wood, was convicted of fraud in relation to statements about her earnings and was handed a 12-month suspended sentence and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work last August at Kingston Crown Court.
On Monday Lord Justice Laws, Mr Justice Keith and Judge Charles Wide QC, sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, rejected her application to appeal.
Judge Wide said Meghrabi’s defence in her trial had been that she “never told the mortgage broker she was earning the bonus of £40,000 and said it was put in at the suggestion of the mortgage broker”.
It was her case that “she had told him it sounded excessive, but he said it didn’t matter, as it was not guaranteed income,” the judge continued.
Meghrabi, representing herself, argued that the way the judge “questioned” her at her trial had prejudiced the jury against her and rendered her trial unfair.
Rejecting her application to appeal, Judge Wide said: “The grounds of appeal are that the judge’s questioning of the appellant would have been perceived by the jury as an indication that he didn’t believe or accept her case.
“It would have been better if the judge had not asked the questions about which she complains but the questioning was of short duration and it is not properly arguable that the judge’s actions rendered the trial unfair.”