Sunday 21 January 2018

Man who allowed his bank account to be used in Electric Picnic tickets scam to be sentenced

Cars queuing 3kms from Stradbally. Electric Picnic - Friday. Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Cars queuing 3kms from Stradbally. Electric Picnic - Friday. Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn

Sonya McLean

A man who allowed his bank account to be used in a Electric Picnic tickets Scam is to be sentenced in January.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that one of the women who was duped later wrote a song about it and posted it on YouTube. The video became a hit and led to her receiving free tickets to the Electric Picnic concert.

Jonathan McLoughlin (34) of Sheephill Park, Blanchardstown, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to aiding and abetting an unknown person in the commission of offence of deception in August 2013.

He has two previous convictions from the Children's Court for criminal damage and possession of a knife.

Detective Garda Patrick Traynor agreed with Lorcan Staines BL, defending, that although McLoughlin told gardaí he would “take the rap”, officers weren't “totally convinced” by his admissions and were satisfied that someone else was involved.

Mr Staines said that McLoughlin now instructed that he had been getting a small amount of cannabis “on tick” at the time and he was asked for his bank card and account details. The detective accepted that this explanation was “reasonably possible”.

Det Gda Traynor told Cormac Quinn BL, prosecuting, said that the scam involved the advertisement of tickets for the Electric Picnic on the Donedeal website and also an unknown man contacting people who had posted ads themselves looking for tickets.

Another man was conned into transferring cash to McLoughlin's account for a car engine after he placed an ad on the same website looking for one. A total of €2,630 was lodged to McLoughlin's account, a large proportion of which was later withdrawn by use of his card in various ATMs.

When gardaí were contacted by those people affected by the scam and provided with details of the bank account, a stop was put on the account and no further withdrawals could be made by ATM.

On August 30, 2013 McLoughlin arrived at his local bank branch to withdraw the balance of €1,845. The bank alerted the gardaí and officers came to the bank to speak with McLoughlin. He was not arrested until the following February when he made admissions.

Det Gda Traynor said gardaí were never able to confirm who made the withdrawals through the ATM and no other person has been charged with the offence.

Judge Patricia Ryan adjourned the case to January to allow for the preparation of a report from the Probation Service. She accepted a psychological report outlined that McLoughlin has an intellectual disability but noted that the author of the report requested a cognitive test to ascertain the level of his disability.

McLoughlin's bank account holding the €1,845 had been frozen and Judge Ryan ordered that the money in the account be released to Det Gda Traynor so it could be divided amongst the injured parties.

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