Sunday 16 December 2018

Man (70) avoids jail after using fraudulently obtained credit cards to make purchases worth nearly €52,000

The man was caught on CCTV cameras from Dublin to Donegal, gardaí told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Patrick Manning of Hellandswood Court, Anderstown, Belfast pleaded guilty to a number of counts of theft at various locations in the State on dates between October and December 2016. Photo: Collins Courts
Patrick Manning of Hellandswood Court, Anderstown, Belfast pleaded guilty to a number of counts of theft at various locations in the State on dates between October and December 2016. Photo: Collins Courts

Declan Brennan

A 70-year-old man has received a suspended jail sentence for his part in a credit card scam that targeted businesses across the country.

Patrick Manning used fraudulently obtained cards to make nearly €52,000 worth of high value transactions, including buying laptops and cash in foreign exchange shops.

Manning was caught on CCTV cameras from Dublin to Donegal, gardaí told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Manning of Hellandswood Court, Anderstown, Belfast pleaded guilty to a number of counts of theft at various locations in the State on dates between October and December 2016.

Detective Garda Des Rodgers told the court that in late 2016, Barclays Bank in the UK alerted gardaí to the fraudulent use of credit cards in Ireland.

He said that somebody would contact the bank and pretend to be a customer who was on holidays in Ireland and had lost their credit card. The court heard that Manning was not the caller and that the scam involved other people not identified.

As a result of the call, the bank was obliged under a EU Directive to issue an emergency credit card and post it out to given addresses in Ireland. There was no PIN associated with these cards so they could be used in any shop with just a signature.

Judge Martin Nolan noted that whoever made the call must have had enough information to satisfy the bank they were a customer and beat Barclay's security checks.

He said that somebody had a procured a list of the bank's customers with details and information for each account.

In December 2016, Barclays alerted gardaí to another request for an emergency card and gardaí went to the address in Drogheda where the card had been sent.

Manning showed up to collect the card and gardaí moved in. Manning, whose previous convictions include robbery and theft offences, admitted his role in the scam but didn't give any names of the others involved.

He said he was getting paid a daily wage of around €100 for being the “presentable face” of the scam. In total he received around €1,500 to €2,000.

The court heard that gardaí do not believe he was the “main man” behind the operation.

Luigi Rea BL, defending, said the father-of-three had had problems in the past with alcohol and gambling. He was in poor health now, counsel said.

Judge Nolan said that he was taking Manning's age and poor health into consideration and he suspended a jail term of three years.

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