A former criminal defence solicitor has been jailed for two years for her part in a £1.3m mortgage fraud in east London.

Elena Quinlivan (pictured), 35, planned to build a rented property empire, using forged identity documents, bank statements and payslips, Southwark Crown Court heard.

With help from her financial adviser, Quinlivan obtained mortgages for six properties that she intended to let out for profit between 2003 and 2005. She used her maiden name and the names of family and friends to obtain the mortgages.

‘The housing market was promising and your head was turned by the fraudulent success of an associate, with his expensive home and car,’ Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said on Monday.

‘You are an intelligent solicitor, who also once worked for an estate agent, and cannot be called naive.’

The University of Manchester graduate worked for Ilford-based ST Law after qualifying in 2008 and was also employed for three years by human rights solicitor Imran Khan, who represented her in court. ‘There was a culture at that time that mortgages were given out left right and centre,’ Khan told the court.

‘She saw her financial adviser making a large amount of money. She was bedazzled by him and taken in by his talk and ability to make money very quickly. She fell for it and admits it was stupidity in the extreme.’

He added: ‘Not all lawyers are intelligent. This is not some scheme hatched by a master criminal, but one person, rather clueless.’

Quinlivan was ordered to repay £108,405 within 12 months or serve an additional two years’ imprisonment.