Saturday 21 October 2017

Jailed former Revenue officer has €38k confiscated

Sonya McLean

A former revenue officer and tax consultant who was jailed for defrauding the State has had €37,650 confiscated and forfeited to the exchequer.

Gerard Giffney (53) was jailed for four years by Judge Martin Nolan in February 2012 when he heard the Dublin man had used a loop hole in the tax system to carry out the €112,000  fraud.

Giffney formerly of Tynan Hall Grove, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four charges of knowingly aiding, abetting, assisting, inciting or inducing another to make an incorrect tax return and four charges of falsely representing that these people were entitled to a tax repayment on dates between February 2003 and July 2003.

The charges were representative of 11 incidents of fraud.

Giffney has an additional previous conviction for fraud and was jailed in 1995.

He had been working as a revenue officer at the time of that offence but was fired as soon as the crime came to light. He set up his own tax advisory company upon his release from custody.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring has now confiscated €37,650 from Giffney after she was informed that the State is satisfied that the figure represented proceeds from his criminal activity.

The judge was told there was no defence objection to the State application.

Detective Sergeant Michael McKenna told Dominic McGinn SC, prosecuting, at the sentence hearing in 2012, that Giffney asked a number of men to sign blank tax forms in relation to “relevant contracts tax” to claim cash back from Revenue.

These documents, know as RCTDC forms, stated they had worked as subcontractors on a number of building sites and were entitled to a tax refund. The work had never been carried out.

Giffney then filled in the remainder of the forms and submitted them to Revenue.

Giffney told the men that it was a way of making “a few quid” and advised them that they would receive a cheque in the post. He instructed them to lodge the cheque in their own bank account, keep 20% of the funds for themselves and return the balance to him in cash.

The court heard that it was through Giffney’s previous work in Revenue that he was aware there was a loop hole in the processing of these forms because they were never cross-checked.

Det Sgt McKenna said that Giffney would have received over €90,000, having defrauded a total of €112,686.

He said Giffney left Ireland in 2005 when gardai first started to investigate the scam.

He was eventually arrested on a European Arrest Warrant and extradited back to Ireland in August 2011.

He claimed, after the charges were put to him, that the scheme had been orchestrated by the Provisional IRA and there was now a €10,000 contract out to have him killed.

Det Sgt McKenna said that he had investigated the offences for many years at the time of Giffney’s eventual arrest and there was no evidence to support this claim.

Judge Nolan said Giffney was obviously an intelligent man who had used his knowledge of the way the Revenue system worked to carry out the fraud.

He said the men he had used in the scam where from his native Tallaght and they would have been upset that he had led them astray and brought them to the attention of the gardai.

Judge Nolan accepted that Giffney had eventually pleaded to the offences but noted: “He used his God given abilities to commit crime”.

Sean Gillane SC, defending, told the court that his client had served as a sergeant in the army before taking his civil servant exams and securing a position in Revenue.

He said he had a “constructive knowledge of this relevant loop hole that facilitated this complex fraud”.

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