'Car scam conman stole my €3k and left me with huge bills to pay' - duped student
A mature student who lost €3,000 to a Dubliner posing as a legitimate businessman has told of how the trickster duped him and his friend of their hard-earned cash.
Eamon Shield (45) was found guilty of 25 counts of theft and deception following a two-week trial in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in July.
He stole €178,000 from 12 people as part of his scheme and has been jailed for four years.
Today one of his victims has told how Shield conned "investors", starting in 2011.
"A friend of mine saw the ad in which this man said he could double your investment. He wanted to meet him but brought along another friend who was interested, as well as me as an observer.
"My friend rang him and we met in a hotel lounge, and my first impression of Shield was that he was clean cut, well spoken, confident, business-like and very relaxed.
"He explained how he bought repossessed cars from banks who were off-loading them at a discount to clear them, and then he was selling them on at market rate for a profit.
"He said the more investors he had the cheaper he could get the cars for, and the more money he could make, and promised a 100pc return on an investment.
"There was no pressure at that first meeting, and no demand for money, but an arrangement was made to have a second meeting if we wished. He answered all questions without any hesitation," he said.
"After the first meeting the other lad with us decided he didn't want to proceed but my friend said he would meet Shield again.
"I was a mature student in college and had around €3,000 to get me through. Although it seemed too good to be true I must say the lure of turning €3,000 into €6,000 was too tempting to turn down, so I opted to invest with my friend," he added. The two men then met again with Shield.
"I was a bit suspicious, but at the end of the second meeting we exchanged photographs of our passports with Shield, and at a third meeting my friend gave him €6,000 of which €3,000 was mine," he explained.
"A friend of mine was sick in Australia at the time and I went over to him while he was on chemotherapy. But I did that on a credit card on the expectation that my money would be there for me when I came home. Of course, the money wasn't there.
"We phoned Shield but there were excuses and more excuses. There was one small lodgement back to us to buy him time, but in the end we reported him to gardai," he said.
"I had to pay back that credit card and pay my way through college. I'm still paying for it," he added.
In a three-page letter read out in court, Shield said: "I have deep regret at how things worked out for the people I've left out of pocket."
He went on to say the incident had left him "stressed and anxious" and that he was the victim of a "smear campaign" on social media.
"I have also had people follow me and who have placed me under watch on this issue," he wrote.
Sentencing Shield - of Weston Meadows, Weston Park, Lucan, Co Dublin - Judge Patricia Ryan accepted he was remorseful but noted a large amount of money was involved. She handed down a four-year sentence and said €20,000 that was left in Shield's account would be divided among his victims.
"I was happy enough with the sentence, and while I was angry with Shield at the time now I just look upon him as a sort of fool. The message I have learned though is that if something seems too good to be true it more than likely is exactly that," said the investor.