Fraudster sells stolen car to garda

Fraudster sells stolen car to garda

A convicted fraudster who “duped” two men and a garda into buying stolen cars from him has been sentenced to three years consecutive to a four-year term he is already serving for a similar crime.

Mark Kelly (aged 33) was not the mastermind behind the operation, but received cash sums for selling an Audi to a garda for €18,000, a BMW to a French national for €26,000 and a Volkswagon Golf to a third man for €17,000.

Kelly was not charged in connection with the house burglaries during which the vehicles were stolen.

He was sentenced to four years last February in Trim Circuit Criminal Court after he pleaded guilty to charges of deception and handling stolen property. He was on bail for this offence when he committed these new crimes.

Kelly of Fortlawn Park, Blanchardstown, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal to three charges of “inducing another to buy a car with the intention of making a gain for himself after falsely reporting he was lawfully entitled to sell it” on dates between June 16, 2007 and February 5, 2008.

He has 18 further previous convictions, including a three-year jail term which he received from Judge Patrick McCartan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last March, after he pleaded guilty to a number of offences including handling stolen vehicles and deception.

Detective Garda Maria Flynn told Mr Garnet Orange BL, prosecuting, that the garda saw the Audi advertised in Car Buyers Guide and met with Kelly, who claimed his name was “Paul Egan”, on June 16, 2007.

He had taken out a credit union loan to purchase the vehicle for €18,000 but on reflection after buying the car, it struck him that it was “too good, a bargain”.

The garda called the Vehicle Registration Office with the chassis number from the car and contacted colleagues when he was informed that it had been reported stolen.

Judge Katherine Delahunt ordered that the three-year term be served consecutive to the sentence Kelly is already serving from Trim and suspended the last 18 months.

She said that Kelly and others had “tried to dupe members of the public by selling them stolen cars” and noted that the three men had “suffered substantial financial losses”.

“You had been arrested and charged for the crimes that were dealt with in Trim yet you continued to offend in this way,” Judge Delahunt said.

She accepted that although Kelly had not been “the mastermind” behind the operation, he had got involved for “monetary reward”.

Det Gda Flynn said that the owners of the BMW gave gardaí the keys to their stolen vehicle and on receipt of confidential information, she went to an apartment block in Milltown on May 16, 2008, where she was able to locate the car.

She spoke to the French national who told her he had bought the BMW from a man named “Eric” after seeing it advertised in Car Buyer’s Guide. He had taken a photo of the vehicle on his mobile phone at the meeting and gardaí were later able to identify Kelly, who was standing close to the car in the image.

Det Gda Flynn said that Kelly was arrested and although he initially denied knowing anything about the three vehicles, he later made admissions when he was shown the photograph.

Det Gda Flynn said although the original owners of the vehicles were reimbursed through their insurance, the three men who bought the cars from Kelly had suffered large financial losses, totalling €61,000.

She agreed with Mr Seamus Clarke BL, defending, that Kelly told gardaí that he was stuck for money at the time and had been drinking a lot. He received more than €1,800 for his involvement in the operation.

She said she was not aware that Kelly had a great work history up to 2007, having held positions as a tiler and a porter, but he lost his job that year and split up with his girlfriend.

Mr Clarke said that this had been “a salutary lesson” for his client and that he has “knuckled down” since he was imprisoned.

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