Friday 20 April 2018

Two workers cost insurance firm €1.4m in massive frauds

Martin Reilly at Dublin Circuit Court where he was jailed for four and a half years
Martin Reilly at Dublin Circuit Court where he was jailed for four and a half years

Aoife Nic Ardghail and Jessica Magee

Two former agents with insurance firm Canada Life have been jailed following separate investigations that uncovered fraud worth a total of €1.4m.

In the first case, chronic gambler Martin Reilly (59) was jailed for four-and-a-half years after he was convicted of stealing more than €832,000 from clients while he worked in Dublin as a Canada Life agent.

Reilly, with an address at West Side Estates, Togher, Cork, convinced 18 of his clients, including a priest, to take money out of their existing Canada Life insurance policies and reinvest in other company products that didn't exist.

The grandfather-of-two instead put the money into an EBS account in his own name.

Reilly affirmed signed pleas of guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 80 counts of stealing money from clients between 2002 and 2011. He had no previous convictions.

Detective Garda Niamh Seberry told John Quirke BL, prosecuting, that Canada Life had reimbursed all the victims and was at a loss of €1.2m between repayments and compensation.

Det Gda Seberry revealed that a client had contacted Canada Life in 2011 about a policy that had lapsed due to non-payment. This client informed the company that the money had gone to Reilly.

The company terminated Reilly's job and he confessed to his employer he had a gambling addiction. Reilly admitted gambling the money he stole.

In a separate case, Patrick Walsh (33) of Crawford Street, Bruff, Co Limerick, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 75 charges relating to fraud and theft.

He was jailed for two-and-a-half years after committing fraud totalling €215,000 by creating fictitious insurance policies for clients who never existed.

Walsh worked as a tied agent with Canada Life Assurance Ireland from February 2010 to November 2011, when these offences came to light and his agency was terminated.

As a tied agent, he operated as a self-employed financial advisor but could sell policies only for Canada Life.

He admitted drawing up 38 fake insurance policies during this period, using names for make-believe clients with names similar to his own, his estranged wife's, or the names of his genuine clients.

Walsh further admitted 37 counts of theft from Canada Life, as the company unwittingly paid him commission for each of the false policies. He had no previous convictions.

The court heard none of the genuine policy holders were left out of pocket, but Canada Life was at a loss of €230,000.

Judge Martin Nolan accepted this had been a "one-off fall from grace", but added Walsh's "long pattern of criminal behaviour" warranted a custodial sentence.

Walsh told gardaí he started manufacturing policies to pay for a house he was building with his now estranged wife.

Irish Independent

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