Criminal’s wife and mistress receive fully suspended sentences
Senior Kinahan Cartel lieutenant Declan Brady has been jailed for seven years and three months for laundering cash from a criminal organisation while his wife and former "mistress" have received fully suspended sentences at the Special Criminal Court.
The trio appeared in court this morning, with Declan Brady in the dock as he is already serving a sentence for firearms offences. His wife Deirdre Brady hugged family members after receiving a three-year suspended sentence for her role in laundering €770,499.
Erika Lukacs (37) also received a fully suspended three-year sentence for laundering €196,864.
The court previously heard that Brady and his wife laundered crime cash through transfers that included mortgage payments on a Spanish holiday property, a wedding at Druid's Glen and transfers to other gang members.
A bar tab and room bills for €27,000 from the wedding were paid for in cash, while both Brady and his wife declared no income to the Revenue over the period in question, the court also heard.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt said it would be disproportionate to jail the women as, he said, they did not participate in the underlying criminality that was the source of the cash. Were it not for their association with Declan Brady, they would not have found themselves before the court, he said, and they had previously unblemished records.
Mr Justice Hunt gave Declan Brady, known as Mr Nobody, of The Park, Wolstan Abbey, Celbridge, Co Kildare, a sentence of eight years and three months with the final year suspended. On April 23, Brady pleaded guilty to concealing cash to the value of €268,940 in the attic of The Dairy, Rathasker Road, Naas, Co Kildare, on January 24, 2017.
He is already serving 11-and-a-half years in prison after he admitted supervising a firearms arsenal including an assault rifle and thousands of rounds of ammunition that had been stashed in a Dublin business park.
Mr Justice Hunt said it is reasonable to infer that Declan Brady's offences were part of a "broader pattern of activity in support of a criminal gang".
He said Brady had provided a "high level of assistance on a number of fronts over a period of time" and was "trusted" by the criminal organisation. He had enjoyed material benefits from his involvement, the judge said, adding that these are all significant aggravating factors.
He had also caused his wife and partner to become involved where their previous good character showed no indication they would otherwise have committed any offences.
He said Declan Brady's offending merited a pre-mitigation sentence of 11 years but having taken into account his early guilty plea and his co-operation with gardaí, the judge reduced that to eight years and three months.
He suspended the final year to incentivise his rehabilitation. The sentence will run from April 23, 2021, when Brady first entered his plea of guilty. It means that he will not leave prison when he completes his sentence for the firearms offences.
Turning to Deirdre Brady, Mr Justice Hunt said the total sum going through her accounts was more than €770,000, a "very significant amount of money".
He said the court had a custodial sentence in mind but considered that she has no previous convictions and unlike her husband, she was not involved in the activities of a criminal gang.
He added: "But it must have been obvious to her there was a disconnect between the legitimate activities of her husband and the sums of money going through the accounts."
She was under instruction from her husband, the judge said, and appears before the court as a person of otherwise blameless character with three children and seven grandchildren. She had a "reckless approach to these matters", he said, but having considered the mitigating factors, the court decided against a custodial sentence. "It's a very close-run thing from her point of view," he added. Mrs Brady entered a bond of €100 to be of good behaviour for three years or risk serving the three-year sentence.
Ms Lukacs had similarly no involvement in the criminal gang or criminal activity, the judge said, but she "must have suspected a disconnect between his [Declan Brady's] apparent legitimate activities and these sums of money." He said the court also considered a custodial sentence for Ms Lukacs but taking into account her guilty plea, previous good record and that she is the carer of a young child, he said a prison term would be "harsh and disproportionate" on the mother and child.
Ms Lukacs entered a similar bond to her co-accused.
On April 13, Deirdre Brady pleaded guilty to concealing or disguising the true nature or source of money credited to a Permanent TSB account on various dates between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014, within the State, knowing or believing or being reckless as to whether the property, in the names of Declan Brady and Deirdre Brady, was the proceeds of criminal conduct.
Lukacs, with an address at Lakelands, Naas, Co Kildare, admitted to concealing or disguising the true nature or source of money credited to an Allied Irish Bank account on various dates between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012, within the State, knowing or believing or being reckless as to whether the property, in the name of Erika Lukacs, was the proceeds of criminal conduct.
At a later hearing, Brady pleaded guilty to 17 more money laundering offences and Lukacs pleaded guilty to five more money laundering offences.
At a sentence hearing, the court heard Deirdre Brady, the mother of Declan Brady's three adult children, transferred over €140,000 in organised crime cash to a Spanish bank account of Thomas 'Bomber' Kavanagh over a five-year period.
She also paid €3,000-a-month to her husband's Spanish mortgage account on a property in Cala D'Or in Majorca, totalling over €138,000 between 2014 and 2016. The property has since been repossessed by the bank in Spain.
Declan and Mrs Brady paid €66,301 to the Druids' Glen Hotel in Wicklow for the wedding of a family member, €27,265 of which was paid in cash for bar and room bills. Counsel for Mrs Brady, Michael Bowman SC, said his client was "acting blind" and "in complete ignorance" when she paid the rent on a property, which her husband had shared with his "mistress", Ms Lukacs.
Lawyers for Declan Brady said he was taking orders from "more sinister forces based abroad".
Detective Sergeant Tom Anderson told the sentence hearing that as a result of confidential information targeting organised crime, gardaí mounted a surveillance operation targeting certain individuals at a commercial premises in Greenogue, Rathcoole, Dublin 24.
Det Sgt Anderson said Brady was inside the building when gardaí entered and seized 15 firearms, including a Kalashnikov, a submachine gun, and a semi-automatic weapon that were found alongside a device to manufacture vehicle registrations.
In July 2019, Brady, who was tasked by senior criminal figures abroad to supervise the weapons cache, was sentenced to 11-and-a-half years imprisonment after pleading guilty to possession of the weapons.
During the investigation, gardaí obtained a warrant to search Brady's home address on January 24, 2017. Mrs Brady was present at the house in Wolstan Abbey when gardaí seized money and bank documents.
A forensic analysis of Mrs Brady's bank accounts showed that she had transferred money to two Spanish bank accounts. Thomas Kavanagh, a senior figure within organised crime, was the beneficiary of one of these bank accounts, the detective said.
On the same day, gardaí obtained a warrant to search The Dairy at Rathasker Road in Naas as they believed Brady was living at that address with his girlfriend, Hungarian national Lukacs. Det Sgt Anderson said Brady and Lukacs had had a baby girl together in October 2016.
Upon searching the property, gardaí found a total of €250,000 in cash in a bread bin, on top of a fridge, in a shoebox, in a laptop bag and also in a hold-all bag in an attic. They also discovered documents for multiple bank accounts.
The detective said that Brady had declared "no gross income" to Revenue for four years and had five bank accounts, three of which he jointly held with his wife, while another was a personal loan account.
The court heard that Mrs Brady had shared a joint mortgage account with her husband and she had made 21 individual cash lodgements to him totalling €89,000 between 2014 and 2017.
Det Sgt Anderson explained that Mrs Brady's Ulster Bank account showed cash lodgements in amounts of €3,000 were made by her to a Spanish account each month. "Declan was the beneficiary and it was used to pay his Spanish mortgage. The amount of money that went into it was €138,000," he said.
The witness said a close family member of Declan Brady got married at Druids' Glen in May 2015 and the wedding cost €66,301. "A sum of the wedding bill was paid in cash including a bar tab for €27,000.
“These payments don't tie back to Declan Brady's account, indicating they came from elsewhere," he said, adding that all the money was completely out of proportion to his declared income.
Det Sgt Anderson described Mrs Brady as a "housewife and homemaker", who had eight bank accounts between 2012 and 2017, of which four accounts were jointly held with her husband.
Her tax records showed that she had declared no income to the Revenue in that period and an analysis of her bank account showed lodgements of €690,000, he said.
Referring to Lukacs, Det Sgt Anderson said she operated four AIB bank accounts between 2012 and 2016 and one of these was a joint account with Brady. She had lodgements totalling €381,319 and Revenue records showed she had filed income tax returns in 2010 and 2015. She was also in receipt of regular child benefit for €140 and her declared income in 2016 was €34,245.
He said that gardaí had no reason to believe that Lukacs had any knowledge of the cash found in The Dairy, where she lived, and Brady had accepted responsibility for that cash. She was arrested on July 3, 2018 for the offence of money laundering and interviewed twice by gardaí. She denied any knowledge of cash in her attic or house.
The court was told that all three have paid money to the Criminal Assets Bureau.
The Bradys have sold three of their properties, including a house in Firhouse in Dublin, another house in Wolstan Abbey and an apartment in Tavira in Portugal to pay over €449,000.
The mortgage on their other apartment in Cala D'Or in Majorca had not been paid in some time and the apartment has been repossessed by the bank in Spain.
Lukacs settled her debts with CAB for €71,327.