Man who ‘seized the opportunity’ to spend fraudulent money jailed

Man who ‘seized the opportunity’ to spend fraudulent money jailed

By Fiona Ferguson

A man who spent money fraudulently misdirected into his bank account has been jailed.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that over €8,000 from a Turkish company intended to be paid to another company was transferred into the account of Aaron Reilly (27).

Gardai accept he was not the organiser of the fraud but he “seized the opportunity” to withdraw some of the money for his own use.

The Turkish company attempted to recall the money and Reilly’s account was frozen with €41 in it.

Reilly of Harelawn Park, Clondalkin, pleaded guilty to a charge of money laundering, on June 12, 2020. He has 20 previous convictions, including two previous for theft.

Passing sentence on Monday, Judge Melanie Greally said in this case unlike many that come before the courts Reilly had seized the opportunity to access the cash, which had been misdirected into his account, for his own enjoyment.

Judge Greally took into account his guilty plea, personal adversity in recent years as well as his history of employment and hope to return to work in the future.

She said that in this type of offending the principal of general deterrent was particularly to the forefront of the court’s considerations.

She said that generally in a case where there is no significant personal gain and there is pressure involved a custodial sentence is not necessarily appropriate.

Judge Greally noted in this case Reilly had benefitted from the proceeds of the fraud and did not provide an explanation when arrested. She said the funds had been lost and there was no restitution.

Judge Greally imposed a 12 months sentence and suspended the final 4 months.

The prosecuting garda told Rónán Prendergast BL, prosecuting, that gardai investigated a referral from AIB bank in relation to a €8,270 payment to Reilly’s account which was recalled citing fraud.

He said it was paid from a company in Istanbul and it was evident Reilly was not the intended recipient.

The account was frozen ten days later but only €41.20 was left in the account.

Reilly presented himself to gardai but nothing of evidential value came from the interviews.

The garda agreed with defence counsel that they did not believe he was the organiser.

Gardai believed Reilly was recruited, James O’Brien BL defending, said to allow the money go through his account but seized the opportunity to withdraw money for his own use.

Mr O’Brien said it was a slightly unusual case in that his client had not been expecting such a large amount and took advantage of it to some degree. He said Reilly hopes to return to employment and be in a position to repay the money.

He asked the court to take into account his very early guilty plea and that his prior convictions were mainly road traffic offences.

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