Saturday 14 December 2019

Seven charged with €1m mortgage fraud after two-year probe at BoI

Bank of Ireland: two-year probe.
Bank of Ireland: two-year probe.

Ralph Riegel

SEVEN people have been charged in connection with an alleged €1m mortgage fraud in the wake of the property crash.

The charges followed a near two-year garda investigation, which was launched when a subsidiary of Bank of Ireland stopped receiving payments on a new Cork mortgage.

Judge Leo Malone was yesterday told that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has instructed that six of the defendants be tried on indictment before the Circuit Criminal Court.

The director is still considering the file of a seventh defendant, Kathleen Russell (67).

Properties

The six properties are all in Cork, Tipperary and Kerry and the mortgages were obtained between February 2009 and September 2011.

All six mortgages were obtained in the 18 months after Ireland's property crash.

The total value of the mortgages obtained on the six properties was €970,000.

Detective Garda Michael Horgan and Sgt Mary Skehan gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution.

The defendants include Pat O'Connor (43) of Annabella Park, Mallow, Co Cork; and Pat Crowley (30) of Church View, Churchtown, Mallow, Co Cork.

Also before the courts are Kathleen Russell (67) of Inniscarra Road, Fair Hill, Cork; and Michael Jewitt (34) of Oliver Plunkett Place, Doneraile, Mallow, Co Cork.

The defendants also include Patrick Walsh (66) of Tinahely, Co Wicklow; Wendy Briant (54) of Greenane, Kanturk, Co Cork; and Shane Slattery (37) of Great William O'Brien Street, Blackpool, Cork.

Mr Walsh faces a total of 18 charges, three each in relation to the six properties at the centre of the investigation.

The three charges in each case are brought under Sections 7, 25 and 26 of the Theft and Fraud Offences Act (2001) and involve counts of obtaining services by deception.

Mr O'Connor faces six charges while Mr Crowley, Ms Russell, Ms Briant, Mr Slattery and Mr Jewitt face three charges each.

Bail

Only one of the defendants, Kathleen Russell, made any reply to the charges in the garda station.

She said: "The only thing I recognise in this charge is Catherine Kent. I did not give a P60.

"I gave Patsy the name Catherine Kent. I did not do a P60 in the name Catherine Kent."

Judge Malone was told that the DPP was seeking trial before the Circuit Court in six of the seven cases.

A decision on the seventh defendant will be taken shortly.

The State applied for all defendants to be remanded to appear again before Cork District Court on October 15 for service of the books of evidence.

Gardai had no objection to the seven being remanded on their own bail.

Irish Independent

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