A former St George bank lending officer who is married to a police officer will stand trial for mortgage fraud next year.
The charges laid against Hiba Cornell, 44, form part of an investigation into a $150 million mortgage fraud of which the murdered standover man Michael McGurk was alleged to have been a key player.
A three-week hearing is set to begin on March 21. The Downing Centre Local Court heard on Thursday that 23 witnesses would be called to give evidence about Mrs Cornell’s alleged fraudulent activities in assisting people to take out loans worth close to $5 million based on inflated property values and fake employment records.
Mrs Cornell, a mother of two, was arrested last December and charged with 10 offences.
Her husband, Andrew Cornell, a detective at Ashfield, is not suspected of having any knowledge or involvement in the scheme.
Mrs Cornell has worked in banking and finance for 20 years, including for seven years at the Commonwealth Bank at Bankstown. She has been accused of conspiring with Rachid Kabbara and Taan Chamma to ”cheat and defraud financial institutions of large sums of money”.
She is accused of conspiring with Mohamad Diab, Mohamad Mehajer and the National Australia Bank staffer Mohamad Sowaid to ”cheat and defraud” NAB of $3.9 million using fake financial details. She has also been accused of ensuring the loan was approved by soliciting Mr Mehajer to bribe Mr Sowaid.
One charge relates to obtaining a $475,000 loan for Ahmad Hamze to buy a Bellevue Hill unit in 2006 when she was a loans officer for St George bank at Chester Hill. Prosecutors allege Mrs Cornell verified Mr Hamze’s claim that he was earning $89,976 a year working at a bakery in Arncliffe, despite knowing the claims were fake.