Monday 1 May 2017

Businessman made €2m in fraudulent forestry scheme, court told

Garret Hevey (41) was director of a company that gardaí allege issued false documentation for forestry sites in Ireland to investors, a court heard. Stock picture
Garret Hevey (41) was director of a company that gardaí allege issued false documentation for forestry sites in Ireland to investors, a court heard. Stock picture

Andrew Phelan and Conor Feehan

A businessman has been accused of having just under €2m in crime proceeds in a bank account after directing an allegedly fraudulent forestry investment scheme.

Garret Hevey (41) was director of a company that gardaí allege issued false documentation for forestry sites in Ireland to investors, a court heard.

He appeared at an evening sitting of Dublin District Court charged with deception and possession of criminal proceeds.

Judge Michael Walsh granted him bail at €25,000 under strict conditions, and remanded him in custody until he takes up bail.

Mr Hevey, of Brookdene, Shankill in south Co Dublin, is charged with possession of €1.982m, the proceeds of crime, at AIB Bank,Dún Laoghaire last June 13.

The father-of-one is also charged with deceiving an investor, Kari Wahlstrom, into paying over Stg£52,000 at the same bank on February 23, 2016.

Mr Hevey is the second man to be charged by gardaí investigating the alleged fraud. A co-accused, David Piele (40), was granted bail earlier today when he appeared in court charged with deception.

Inspector Cathrina Gunne of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said Mr Hevey was director and shareholder of Arden Forestry Management Ltd.

It was alleged that investors in Arden transferred large sums of money directly into the account and believed they were investing in a legitimate business, Inspector Gunne continued.

They were furnished with what they believed were legitimate folios, timber certificates and management contracts for what they believed were legitimate forest sites, Inspector Gunne said.

Judge Walsh remanded the defendant in custody with consent to bail, to appear in Dublin District Court again on Thursday.

Mr Hevey has not yet indicated how he intends to plead to the charges.

Mr Piele has to sign on at a garda station twice daily, and surrender his passport.

Mr Piele will appear in court again on March 21.

Irish Independent

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