Kean hails landmark fraud judgment
SOLICITOR Gerald Kean has called "good and right" a landmark judgment by the High Court that cash seized from a fraudster who forged Mr Kean's signature be given to his victims rather than the State.
Former estate agent Eamonn Kelly, who stole €1.6m using Mr Kean's name to encourage dozens of investors to participate in a 'Ponzi' scheme, was jailed for six years last January.
However, in a judgment made yesterday he was ordered to hand over €450,000 seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau in three different bank accounts which had been frozen by order of the High Court.
Kelly, of Decies Road, Ballyfermot, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last January to theft, producing a false instrument and forgery between October 2007 and February 2010.
The 49-year-old forged Mr Kean's signature on a letter which claimed the solicitor was representing Kelly, and that the estate agent acted as an adviser to Mr Kean.
Mr Kean, who knew nothing about the letter, said he was still "shocked" over the scam.
"I always thought I was reasonably experienced and astute in judging a person's character but on this one, I got it wrong. I wouldn't have thought this individual was capable of doing these things but obviously he was.
"I was very upset and annoyed over what happened," Mr Kean told the Irish Independent.
Commenting on the landmark judgment by the High Court that the funds seized from a fraudster should be given to Kelly's victims rather than the state, Mr Kean added: "I think this is a good and right decision that this money got to the victims rather than the State, and I want to commend the CAB on their good work."