Two jailed for burnt forest property scam

An Athens lawyer and her 87-year-old accomplice were sent to prison for 12 years each yesterday for appropriating and trying to sell to property developers a large tract of burnt forestland on the capital’s coveted northern outskirts. An Athens appeals court found lawyer Maria Theodoraki-Papageorgiou guilty of forging a deed presenting Harilaos Georgopoulos, 87, as owner of the 250-hectare expanse on Mount Pendeli, which was ravaged by fire in 1998. The true proprietor is the 400-year-old Pendeli Monastery – one of the richest in Greece. The two fenced off the area, which should have been designated for reforestation, separated it into plots and entered into negotiations to sell it to a building cooperative. Theodoraki-Papageorgiou and Georgopoulos had originally received 14-year sentences from a lower court but they managed to avoid imprisonment pending their appeal. After yesterday’s decision – which reduced the jail terms due to the fact that they were first-time offenders – the two were incarcerated in Korydallos Prison.

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