Monday 23 October 2017

Sentencing for insurance fraud garda adjourned

Garda Paul Fogarty leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Garda Paul Fogarty leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Nicola Donnelly and Jessica Magee

THE sentencing of a garda convicted of insurance fraud has been adjourned for almost three months to allow Dublin Circuit Criminal Court access a probation report.

A jury found Garda Paul Fogarty (28) guilty of fraud but acquitted him of harassing a garage owner and his father after a dispute arose over crash repairs that had been carried out on Fogarty’s Toyota Celica.

Fogarty, who has been suspended from the force since January 2010, had pleaded not guilty to dishonestly inducing Quinn Direct to pay an insurance claim €10,254 at Littlepace, Clonee, Co Meath.

 Following a sentence hearing earlier today, Judge Sarah Berkeley adjourned sentencing until next October to review a probation report.

 Detective Garda William Saunderson told prosecuting counsel Melanie Greally, BL, that in May 2007, Garda Fogarty had purchased a Toyota Celica for €19,000.

On January 10, 2008 Fogarty was involved in a single vehicle accident on the M50 which caused extensive damage to the vehicle.

 The car was brought to a recovery yard in Wicklow and it was here that Fogarty was introduced to Christopher Kelly by a mutual friend.

"He had agreed to pay Mr Kelly €5,000 in advance to pay for the parts," said Det Gda Saunderson.

The car was then brought to Mr Kelly's yard in Trim, Co Meath where "very little progress" was made on repairing it.

The repairs were described as unsatisfactory and the car was handed back to Fogarty in November 2008.

In April 2009, Fogarty submitted a claim to Quinn Direct stating that the car had been stolen and it had been "in perfect condition and had not been involved in any accidents."

This, according to Ms Greally, was the "crux of the charge" of fraud.

Quinn Direct agreed to pay Fogarty €11,000 as the insurance company had not been aware that the car had been involved in an accident.

"The car turned up in the driveway of Kelly’s father’s home, in Limerick in June 2009 and evidence was found then that it had been crashed," said Det Gda Saunderson.

Fogarty was arrested in June 2009 and admitted during garda interviews the car had been involved in a crash.

Fogarty told gardai that he was withholding a certain amount of information from the insurance company when he made his claim.

Det Gda Saunderson agreed with Ms Greally that Fogarty was under pressure and on medication for Crohn's disease.

He said Fogarty was of previous good character and was highly regarded as a garda by his colleagues.

Det Gda Saunderson also agreed with defence counsel, Breffni Gordon, BL, that Quinn Direct, now Liberty Insurance, had been reimbursed by Fogarty.

Mr Gordon said following Fogarty’s conviction for dishonesty, there is a strong likelihood he would lose his career.

He said since Fogarty was charged with the offence, he has "made use of his suspension" from the gardai by taking various courses.

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