A MAN accused of swindling millions from his New York fiancee has made contact from Ireland, the heiress's lawyer said.
The High Court heard that property tycoon Elisa Rodino claimed she was duped out of her fortune by Thomas J Queally, originally from Lahaknock, Kilmaley, Co Clare. The heiress, who is in her 60s, met the Irishman, who is in his mid-40s, in 2007. Four years later, they got engaged.
During the engagement in 2011, Mr Queally asked his fiancee to put his name on one of her bank accounts to help him in a court case. There was $5m (€3.8m) in the account, the court was told.
The pair were supposed to holiday in Spain that October, but according to Ms Rodino, Mr Queally never arrived.
Ms Rodino said she returned to New York to discover $4m (€3m) of her money had been transferred to an account in Permanent TSB in Ennis, Co Clare, and an American bank.
The 60-year-old was granted a number of temporary freezing orders against Mr Queally in the High Court in Dublin on Thursday. They stop him reducing, dissipating or transferring funds below a value of €1.6m held in the Ennis account.
Lawyers admitted it had been difficult to track Mr Queally down, and Ms Rodino's team were taking steps to find him.
Ms Rodino's lawyer, Michael Goldman, said yesterday: "We know he's in Ireland. He has made contact through a lawyer."
When contacted yesterday at her home in a plush suburb of Long Island, Ms Rodino refused to comment, but her lawyer said it had been a traumatic experience for her. "We simply hope he gives the money back so we can all move on," he said.
The pair met through Rodino's sister and had holidayed in Ireland together during the four-year relationship.
It emerged during the court hearing that Mr Queally had been engaged to another woman in the US at the same time as his relationship with Ms Rodino.