A CIRCUIT court judge has warned that it’s only a matter of time before young people receive custodial sentences for allowing themselves to be used as ‘money mules’.
Judge Helen Boyle made the comment when dealing with the case of David Sheehan at the Circuit Court sitting in Bandon last week.
Mr Sheehan of Mill Hill, Distillery Road, Bandon had been sentenced to six months in prison in the district court for allowing his bank account to be used for fraudulent purposes and appealed his sentence in the higher court.
The court heard that on April 9th 2020, solicitor Barry Galvin from Galway reported to gardaí that he was a victim of a fraudulent transaction.
He said he had transferred €100,000 from his Bank of Ireland business account to what he thought was a client’s AIB account.
The money was in relation to sale which had fallen through and he received an email from who he thought was his client, requesting the money to be returned and lodged into his account.
A total of €46,903.39 was then directed to various other bank accounts in Ireland and Pakistan, while in Longford two ATM withdrawals of €600 and €1,500 were made before the account was frozen.
The court heard that prior to the lodgment of €100,000 into his bank account, Mr Sheehan had no money in his account. When interviewed by gardaí he made admissions and gardaí said he was a money mule in this case and had no previous convictions.
BL Jane Hyland, instructed by solicitor Plunkett Taaffe, said Mr Sheehan did not profit from allowing his account to be used for fraudulent purposes.
‘At the time he foolishly gave his bank account details to a third party. His dad had died, as did a close friend, and his financial circumstances are poor. He is extremely remorseful for allowing himself to be caught up in this,’ said Ms Hyland.
Judge Boyle said there is no such thing as ‘easy money’ and that these schemes can’t work without ‘these foolish people’.
‘There will be come a time when young people who allow others to use their bank accounts will get prison sentences,’ she warned.
Judge Boyle suspended the sentence for a period of six months provided Mr Sheehan keeps the peace and is of good behaviour, and commits no offence during that period.