Saturday 24 August 2019

Brothers admit theft of €205,000 from woman (77)

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Ann Healy

Two brothers face sentence later this month for stealing €205,000 from a vulnerable old age pensioner by carrying out bogus repairs to her home over a two-year period.

Thomas Coen (46), with addresses at Corrib Park, Newcastle, Galway and Old Monivea Road, Ballybrit, Galway, along with his younger brother, Micheal Coen (38) of Corrib Park, Newcastle, Galway, were both arrested in 2017. They were charged with 61 counts of theft involving large sums of cash taken from the woman between June 2014 and November 2015.

Prosecuting barrister, Conor Fahy BL told their sentence hearing before Galway Circuit Criminal Court yesterday that Thomas Coen pleaded guilty in June last year to the first 30 charges on dates between June 17 and August 30, 2014.

His brother pleaded guilty to eight of the remaining 31 charges involving the theft of cash from the woman at her home between September, 2014 and November, 2015.

Both accepted more than €200,000 had been stolen but said they had taken just €80,000 themselves and that other people were involved.

Garda David Foley told the court that Thomas Coen operated a home and garden maintenance company which he still runs. He said Coen knocked on the then 77-year-old, reclusive woman's door in 2013 and offered to do work around her house.

She declined, but he called back a year later and she accepted his help then. He started calling to her home regularly between June and November 2015, initially charging her €200 to €300, but as time went by, the price rose considerably, Garda Foley said.

He employed his younger brother, Michael, and both brothers would call on an almost daily basis, collecting payments from the woman. Gardai were alerted in November 2015, that "vast sums of money" were leaving the woman's bank account and going to the brothers.

A quantity surveyor assessed the work the brothers had carried out to be valued at €10,063. Judge Rory McCabe agreed to adjourn finalisation of sentence to July 23.

Irish Independent

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