Monday 27 March 2017

Financial advisor used make-believe names for fictitious policies to commit €215k fraud

Pic Shows: Patrick Walsh leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Friday 26-06-2015.
Re: Patrick Walsh (33), of Camass North, Bruff, Co. Limerick leaving court after his sentence hearing for the theft of over €250k at the office of Canada Life between 2010 and 2011.
Pic: Court Collins.
Pic Shows: Patrick Walsh leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Friday 26-06-2015. Re: Patrick Walsh (33), of Camass North, Bruff, Co. Limerick leaving court after his sentence hearing for the theft of over €250k at the office of Canada Life between 2010 and 2011. Pic: Court Collins.

Tim Healy

The High Court has granted judgment for €195,000 against an insurance agent who defrauded Canada Life by setting up fictitious policies to obtain bonuses and commissions.

Patrick Walsh (33), Crawford Street, Bruff, Co Limerick, is serving a prison sentence in Shelton Abbey, Arklow, imposed in June last year for the fraud.

He did not oppose the judgment application for judgment by Canada Life Assurance Ireland Ltd, now part of Irish Life Assurance.

He was jailed for two-and-a-half years by the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court and, later, ten months of this was suspended on appeal.

He had pleaded guilty to 75 charges for fraud and theft between February 2010 and November 2011 when he worked as a tied agent for Canada Life.

He admitted drawing up 38 fake insurance policies during this period, using names for make-believe clients with names similar to his own, that of his estranged wife, or the names of his genuine clients.

He further admitted 37 counts of theft in which he was paid commission by the insurance company for each of the fake policies.   On top of this, he received around €50,000 in bonus payments.

The Circuit Court heard Canada Life was at a loss of around €230,000 though no policies holders were.

Canada Life sued him in the High Court for damages for its loss and, following an assessment of those damages, which Walsh did not defend, it sought judgment.

It originally sought €272,000 but this figure was reduced to around €195,000 after it was discovered some of the money was contained in a suspense account which he used to give the appearance that the policies were genuine.

Walsh claimed he started manufacturing policies to pay for a house he was building but things got into "a big mess very quickly".

He said he was "a normal  person who made a mistake, or rather who made 38 catastrophic mistakes".

Applying for judgment on behalf of Irish Life Assurance, Cian Ferritter SC said Mr Walsh was currently serving his sentence in Shelton Abbey and had said in a letter he was not opposing the application.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott granted judgment for €195,782.

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