GARDAI have smashed an organised crime racket in which up to €1m was fraudulently claimed from Irish banks in both mortgages and personal loans.
Six people, four men and two women, were arrested in Cork yesterday after a major investigation involving gardai from several specialist units, backed up by lengthy surveillance.
The inquiries were launched after concerns were raised about certain loan applications lodged with a number of financial institutions over recent weeks.
These resulted in swoops by officers at three different locations in Cork city and county.
Those arrested were detained under the anti-gang measure, section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2007, and were taken for questioning to a number of garda stations, including the Bridewell and Angelsea Street.
They can be held without charge for a maximum of seven days.
The garda probe is now focused on loan applications dating back over the past two years.
It is understood that several mortgages were sanctioned and term payments cleared, together with a larger number of personal loans.
It is feared that the total amount involved could ultimately reach €1m.
At least three different banks are believed to have been targeted. Detectives are now examining a large quantity of documentation submitted in support of the loan applications involved.
It is believed that a significant portion of that documentation was professionally forged.
This includes passports, drivers' licences, PPS numbers and even utility bills.
Gardai are also trying to confirm the total amount in loans received and what happened to the cash involved.
No cash has to date been recovered by gardai, who are liaising with a number of Irish financial institutions over accounts that may be linked to the individuals involved.
The six suspects, who are aged between their 20s and 40s, are all Irish.