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Apprentice plumber from Rush who acted as a ‘money mule’ avoids prison at Swords District Court


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Stock Image.

Swords District Court

Swords District Court


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An apprentice plumber who acted as a “money mule” has been spared a jail sentence at Swords District Court.

Aaron O’Reilly (20) allowed his bank account to be used for money laundering purposes after he replied to a message on snapchat.

The defendant, of Old Court Road, Rush, pleaded guilty to possessing €1,900 in crime proceeds on June 13, 2020.

The court heard the incident happened at the start of lockdown when O’Reilly was “vulnerable” and he engaged in a conversation with a stranger on Snapchat about receiving a “reward” for allowing his account to be used to lodge money.

Sergeant Conor Barrett said the injured party in the case had received text messages purporting to be from Bank of Ireland to say his account would be closed if he didn’t update his details.

As a result of the text message, the man updated his details “in good faith”, Sergeant Barrett said, which then led to hackers gaining access to his account.

A total of €5,000 was transferred from the injured party’s account to a bank account in Ennis, County Clare.

Arising out of that, €1,900 was transferred to the account of Aaron O’Reilly and from there it was withdrawn at a location in Rush.

When interviewed by gardaí, the defendant admitted talking to an unknown person on Snapchat, a social media platform, about the possibility of his account being used for cash after which time he would receive a “reward” of €500, Sergeant Barrett said.

The accused provided a code to the person and the money was withdrawn at Rush, County Dublin.

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Sergeant Barrettt said O’Reilly had told him he had received no reward for allowing his account to be used.

Bank of Ireland reimbursed the injured party and a second person is due to appear in court on a separate date in relation to this incident, he said.

The money has not been recovered.

Defence barrister Kelly Richardson said O’Reilly is a 20-year-old man who had his mother with him in court for support.

She said the accused had been “foolish and naive” when he responded to the snapchat post but added he was the “facilitator” and not the “perpetrator” of the crime.

O’Reilly has no previous convictions and has not come to the attention of gardaí since this incident, she said.

He is essentially a “kind-hearted” boy who was vulnerable at the time of the incident.

Judge John Brennan said there was no doubt this was a serious offence and in certain circumstances would warrant a custodial sentence.

However, the judge said he noted the incident happened at the start of lockdown and said he was taking into account the plea of guilty and the fact the defendant was being supported by his family.

He said O’Reilly is a young man with his whole life ahead of him who should “draw a line in the sand” in relation to this matter.

Judge Brennan said he would apply the Probation Act after a €500 donation was made to the court poor box.