Suspended sentence for man caught up in “well known” criminal group's online theft scam

By Aoife Nic Ardghail

A qualified surveying engineer has received a two year suspended sentence for his role in a theft scam organised by a “well known” Dublin criminal group.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Darragh Newman (23) got about €1,000 for letting the gang use his bank account details to defraud a businessmen of €7,995 after placing a fake ad for a teleporter online.

Gardaí tracked Newman down through Facebook and later obtained bank CCTV footage of him withdrawing the amount over two days. The money was then passed on to third parties.

Newman, a former DIT student of Coultry Road, Ballymun, Dublin, pleaded guilty to theft in the State in February 2016. He has four previous minor road traffic convictions.

Garda Ronan Kennedy said that businessman Joe Carey responded to an online ad for a €13,000 teleporter vehicle on January 29, 2016.

Mr Carey rang the number supplied with the ad, spoke to a man calling himself Dean Daly and arranged to see the teleporter at a building site in Dundrum.

The businessman, his father and another man went along to the site and were met by a man they thought was a security guard in a car inside the gates.

Gda Kennedy said this security man gave Mr Carey universal teleporter keys and not ones specific to the machine onsite.

The garda told Dara Hayes BL, prosecuting, that Mr Carey drove the machine around the site to test it, then rang the man identifying himself as Dean Daly and agreed a sale of €7,995.

Mr Carey received an email with an invoice from Daly Newman Construction Ltd, which included a business address in Fairview, Dublin and an AIB account under the name of Darragh Newman.

He then transferred the money into this account and was promised the machine would be delivered by February 4, 2016.

When the teleporter was not delivered, Mr Carey returned to the building site and the foreman informed him he had no knowledge of such a machine for sale.

The subsequent garda investigation revealed there was no Daly Newman Construction Ltd, though the invoice sent to Mr Carey had appeared professional.

Gda Kennedy said he and colleagues searched Facebook and came across Newman's profile page, which included photos of him and a Dean Daly.

CCTV from an AIB in Finglas showed Newman withdrawing cash amounts between February 3rd and 4th, 2016.

Gda Kennedy said there was no evidence to suggest Newman had placed the fake teleporter advert from the computers and tablets seized during a later search of his home.

The garda said there was an ongoing investigation into the scam and that he didn't know who arranged the man purporting to be a security guard at the site. He added that Newman was a “cog in the wheel” of this enterprise.

He agreed with Dean Kelly BL, defending, that this operation was “organised by a well known criminal and familial group” and that his client had accepted an opportunity to make “easy money”.

The garda further agreed that Newman had only provided his bank account, that he was not a criminal genius or a principal cog, but that he played his role willingly.

Gda Kennedy accepted that Newman came from a decent, hard working family and that he had paid €1,700 to Mr Carey already, with a further €7,000 available in court.

Gda Kennedy agreed that Mr Carey would be “delighted” to receive this money.

Judge Martin Nolan described the scam as “cunning” and “ingenious” and said Newman must have known he was acting dishonestly by providing his bank account to third parties.

He noted that Newman was remorseful, capable of reform and that he was unlikely to come before the courts again.

The judge suspended the sentence for two years and ordered that the €7,000 be handed over to Gda Kennedy to be passed on to Mr Carey.

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