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Tuesday 17 July 2018

Garda seize cash, high-value watches and five cars as 'ghost broker' held

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Ken Foy

An alleged fake motor insurance broker was in custody after gardaí arrested him on suspicion of making hundreds of thousands of euro from his fraudulent activities.

Last night it emerged that the 26-year-old Lithuanian, who had been operating his lucrative illegal enterprise on Facebook, has close links to a veteran gangland criminal based in north Kildare.

The "ghost broker" suspect was arrested following a major probe that culminated in searches in the Adamstown area of Dublin on Wednesday. Officers seized €4,000 in cash, along with a number of high-value watches worth €60,000 and five cars worth €100,000.

They also found an imitation firearm and a small quantity of drugs. Six bank accounts with more than €200,000 in them were also frozen. Investigations are still being carried out into other financial matters linked to the probe.

The suspect was being questioned at Ronanstown Garda Station last night after his arrest on Wednesday. A senior source revealed that, despite all his "trappings of wealth", the Lithuanian man is claiming social welfare here.

"This arrest was made as part of a major investigation by the DMR traffic unit into what is known as a 'ghost broker'," said the source.

"This individual was primarily dealing with people from the Lithuanian community in Ireland, but he is also linked to a very serious Dublin criminal, who lives in Kildare."

A ghost broker is a fake motor insurance vendor who sells invalid insurance cover. Ghost brokers are engaged in a fraud where they use false information to sell insurance policies that are not valid.

Policies are bought from legitimate insurance companies using false information, and then changed before being sold on to customers. Those involved also create fake policy documents designed to look like they have been issued by lawful insurance companies.

Proposal forms are put through a third party before submission to an insurance company. Yesterday, gardaí released images of some of the cash, cars, watches and the replica handgun they seized. The major bust was welcomed by insurance company Aviva.

"A ghost broker is not authorised to sell insurance to the public and is not supervised by the Central Bank," it said.

"A ghost broker is acting illegally by pretending to be an insurance broker."

Irish Independent

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