A NEW York-based Irishman has denied claims that he has defrauded a 60-year-old American woman of approximately €3m, the High Court heard today.
Elisa Rodino claims Thomas J Queally, who had been engaged to her, has stolen about $4m (€3m) of her money – a large portion of which was lodged by him into a bank in Ennis, Co Clare.
She also claims that Mr Queally, who she has not seen for months, had been living a double life and had another fiancee while engaged to her.
Today at the High Court Mr Queally's lawyers said claims he had transferred money to from a joint bank in the US to his bank account in Ireland without Ms Rodino's authorisation were simply untrue.
The Court also heard that Mr Queally rejects her claims that Ms Rodino was his fiancee or that he was engaged to another woman in New York.
Last month Ms Rodino's lawyers secured a number of temporary freezing orders against Mr Queally, of Sherman Avenue Yonkers New York who is originally from Lahaknock, Kilmaley, Co Clare.
They prevent him reducing, dissipating or transferring funds below a value of €1.6m held in a bank account at Permanent TSB in Ennis, Co Clare.
Ms Rodino, of Cathedral Avenue, Hempstead, New York, claims the money in the Ennis bank account, approximately $2m (€1.5m), is hers. She claims that it was moved by Mr Queally from a joint account held in the US in both their names.
Today Patricia Hill Bl for Mr Queally said her client rejected all the allegations of wrong doing made by Ms Rodino.
He had become aware from media coverage of the claims against him, and had remained in Ireland to meet the case, counsel said.
Counsel said its was Mr Queally case that on October 18th last Ms Rodino had signed a document at a New York Bank that stated that any funds transferred from a joint bank account to Mr Queally's bank account was done with her full permission and authority.
This document was executed in the presence of a notary presence, counsel said. Counsel said that Ms Rodino had failed to mention this and made no mention of it when seeking the freezing orders.
On that basis counsel said it was intended to ask the court to vacate the freezing order on the ground there had not been a full and frank disclosure of all material facts to the court.
Counsel also told the court that Mr Queally rejected claims that his two teenage children from his previous marriage had been put through a private Catholic schools in New York with money allegedly taken from Ms Rodino.
Mr Queally's children had been attending private schools from a very early age and many years before he and Ms Rodino first met.
In reply Ross Gorman Bl for Ms Rodino said that any application to set aside the freezing orders would be opposed, and want the injunction to remain in place pending the outcome of the full hearing of the dispute.
Counsel asked that the matter be adjourned. Mr Queally's replying affidavit was received on Wednesday evening and counsel said the Irish based legal team needed time to consult with their client and her US-based lawyers, he said.
Ms Justice Iseult O'Malley agreed to adjourn the matter to early next week, to allow Ms Rodino's lawyers reply to Mr Queally's affidavit.
Last month the High Court heard that Ms Rodino was a vulnerable woman who had been taken advantage of by Mr Queally, whom she first met in 2007.
She claims last August, in order to aid Mr Queally in a court case against a former employer, she agreed to put his name down on one of her bank accounts. It was a deposit account that contained $5m.
She claims Mr Queally asked her to do this because it would show that he and Ms Rodino, who had inherited a sizable property portfolio from her late father, were a couple and that the work he did on her properties was not a contract of employment, the court heard.
Last October, she claims Mr Queally was due to meet up with her in Spain, but never showed up. When she arrived back in the US she discovered that money had been transferred to the bank in Ennis and to a US bank account.
She has brought a legal action against him in New York as well as in Ireland.