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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Fake kidnap 'victim' McGeever linked to $5m US fraud case

Cormac McQuinn

Published 22/07/2013 | 05:00

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Former property investor Kevin McGeever
Kevin McGeever before his ‘kidnapping’

FORMER property investor Kevin McGeever, who has admitted faking his own kidnapping, was at the centre of a US court case examining a $5m (€3.8m) fraud.

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It was claimed Mr McGeever was the leader of "a sophisticated scheme of financial fraud" where more than 70 investors across the US were duped out of their cash.

The 68-year-old vanished from his Co Galway mansion for eight months and turned up earlier this year in rural Co Leitrim looking gaunt.

He later admitted to gardai that he fabricated a kidnap story to get creditors off his back.

Officers in Galway are awaiting a decision from the DPP on whether he is to be charged with wasting garda time.

He is facing a raft of High Court actions from people he allegedly encouraged to invest in international property deals, only for them to discover the properties either weren't owned by McGeever or didn't exist.

Court papers filed in Illinois in 2003 show a complaint from more than 25 people, who claim they lost money in an investment scheme operated by Mr McGeever and others. The sums lost ranged from $1,000 (€760) for one Illinois resident to up to as much as $1.6m (€1.2m) lost by a man in Wisconsin.

Interpol

Mr McGeever, who at the time was recorded as living in the state of Georgia, was named as one of the promoters of the scheme operating under several names including 'Global Trust Ltd' and 'Global Trust Bank'.

He is alleged to have "knowingly and falsely claimed" that the "high-yield" programme that would "generate substantial profit for investors . . . with little or no risk".

Investors were told that their cash would be sent to a bank in Liechtenstein where substantial profits would be generated due to the tiny state's favourable tax laws.

The complaint calls this claim "totally false and fraudulent".

The papers claim that Mr McGeever "held himself out as the leader" of the Global Trust companies and state that he held conference calls with investors where he claimed he was "in the same boat" as the investors because he himself had invested $2m (€1.5m) in the scheme.

The court filings show that the defendants in the case were accused of engaging in an "unlawful money laundering scheme".

There have been no filings in the case since 2004.

A spokesman for the US District Court in Illinois told a newspaper that the case against Mr McGeever is "still on the record".

Mr McGeever left the US for Dubai after authorities began investigating the scheme.

A 'red notice' from the FBI regarding Mr McGeever was issued to Interpol in 2003, indicating that the federal law enforcement agency was interested in interviewing him over alleged fraud carried out in the US.

The notice was cancelled in 2011, the same month as authorities in the United Arab Emirates had Mr McGeever placed on an Interpol watch list over separate property dealings in the Middle East.

Irish Independent

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