News Courts

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Breifne O’Brien used ‘deposit’ monies to fund car and home improvements, court hears

Sentence hearing for businessman (52) continues

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

Published 30/07/2014 | 12:50

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Breifne O'Brien
Breifne O'Brien
Breifne O'Brien and ex-wife Fiona Nagle
Breifne O'Brien and ex-wife Fiona Nagle

BUSINESSMAN Breifne O’Brien used monies advanced to him by long standing friends to buy a car for his wife and pay for an extension to his home, a court has heard.

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The sentence hearing of Mr O'Brien, who was involved in what the DPP says was "absolutely, quintessentially, characteristic of a Ponzi scheme" is now underway at Dublin's Circuit Criminal Court.

Last June O'Brien (52), of Kilmore, Monkstown Grove, south County Dublin, pleaded guilty last June at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 14 sample counts.

At that hearing it was disclosed that he has no previous convictions.

This afternoon, trial judge Patricia Ryan heard that the central proposition of Mr O'Brien's scheme involved him telling investors that he had their monies retained  on deposit that was not to be used for any other purpose other than to show that he (O'Brien) had access to the money.

This would allow him to procure an option on property and then "flip it on" the court heard.

However prosecutor Luan O'Braonain SC said that the "central lie"  was that the monies were not retained on deposit in the way that was promised by Mr O'Brien and was not used to show access to the funds.

Instead, the monies advanced by his friends was used for a myriad of other purposes including repaying other people who had advanced monies, the payment of stamp duty, paying for an extension on Mr O'Brien's home - as well as buying a car for his wife.

The sample counts included stealing money and dishonestly inducing people to invest in bogus shipping and insurance schemes, and also bogus property schemes in Paris, Manchester and Hamburg on dates between 2003 and 2008.

O'Brien, whose family home is in Carrigrohane Castle, Co Cork, had denied all charges, but changed his plea to guilty on the day his trial was due to start.

The deception involves five victims namely Martin O'Brien of Naas, Co Kildare, Dubliners Pat Doyle and Evan Newall, Tipperary dairy farm Louis Dowley and Daniel Maher of Foxrock, Co Dublin.

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