Breifne O'Brien accused of Ponzi-type fraud in court

Breifne O'Brien accused of Ponzi-type fraud in court

A court has heard businessman Breifne O'Brien defrauded friends and associates out of millions of euro in a Ponzi scheme.

The 52-year-old with an address at Monkstown Grove, Co Dublin faces up to ten years in prison for 14 theft and deception charges dating from 2003 to 2008.

Breifne O'Brien's victims were not anonymous investors – some were associates others like Louis Dowley and Daniel Maher were friends since his Trinity College days whose trust in the businessman cost them millions in bogus property, shipping and insurance deals here and in places like Paris and Hamburg.

O'Brien's was a straightforward confidence trick . He would ask a person for money insisting that at all times remain it would remain in a deposit account and that its only purpose was to show he had the financial clout to buy an option on a property or some other deal, which he would then "flip" on for profit.

But the court heard it was a lie - a paper trail gardaí followed shows the money was used for a myriad of purposes including an extension to his house, stamp duty and a car for his wife.

Some of the money went to pay back other investors in order to retain their trust– a classic characteristic of a Ponzi scheme.

His lawyers say his fall from grace was "punished" in the media which treated him as the poster boy for the worst excesses of the Celtic Tiger.

They say he has been left divorced shunned and destitute, living off €188 a week.

He will be sentenced on October 8.


More in this Section

Coronavirus and Brexit negotiations add pressure to form government – TánaisteCoronavirus and Brexit negotiations add pressure to form government – Tánaiste

Trócaire study: Disasters resulting from climate change kill 14 times more women than menTrócaire study: Disasters resulting from climate change kill 14 times more women than men

Man held in Keane Mulready-Woods murder probe releasedMan held in Keane Mulready-Woods murder probe released

Athlone horse trainer's stables hit for third time in 11 years as flooding impacts several areas across country  Athlone horse trainer's stables hit for third time in 11 years as flooding impacts several areas across country


Lifestyle

Cork actor Eanna Hardwicke may have grown up with a Young Offenders star, but he is set to make a name for himself with a string of big roles, writes  Esther McCarthyEanna Hardwicke: Cork actor about to burst onto the big screen

Should we be putting haemorrhoid cream around our eyes? Short answer... Absolutely not.The Skin Nerd: Are celebrity skincare tips all a load of Bullocks?

Peter Dowdall reports on how Blarney Castle's famous yew has bewitched onlookers for six centuriesBewitched: Help Ireland's most popular tree get the vote in Europe

Kya deLongchamps advises us to research, plan and keep our heads during online auctionsHow to keep your head during an online auction

More From The Irish Examiner