Twenty people are facing charges of fraud following a garda investigation into car accidents that were allegedly staged to claim insurance payouts.
The majority of the 20 were charged under Section 6 of Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001 before Judge Brian Sheridan in the District Court in Midleton, Co Cork, yesterday.
The accused have addresses in Cork City as well as locations across the east and north of the county.
All 20 were arrested as part of a garda investigation into alleged car insurance scams code-named Operation Nascar.
The Director of Public Prosecutions has directed that 18 of the 20 accused can be dealt with by way of summary disposal, provided that the district court accepts jurisdiction.
Two of the accused, Tommy Maher and Brian Carroll, are to be tried by indictment at the circuit court.
Both Mr Maher, aged 52, of Scarteen, Newmarket, Co Cork, and Mr Carroll, aged 41, of Blueberry Fields, Bloomfield, Midleton, Co Cork, face the same three Section 6 fraud charges totalling €165,623.25.
The three charges are for sums of €76,662.25, €68,270 and €20,691 respectively.
All 20 defendants face charges in relation to their alleged involvement in one or all of three road traffic accidents that occurred in Cork.
The incidents took place at Clash West, Leamlara in East Cork; at Red Barn Cross in Youghal; and on the Model Farm Road in Cork City.
All 20 are to appear again at Midleton District Court in September.
Mr Maher and Mr Carroll will appear on September 3 for the service of the book of evidence, while the other 18 are due before the court on September 10, when Judge Sheridan will decide jurisdiction.
The charges are the latest to be brought following investigations as part of Operation Nascar, which was launched in 2011.
Gardai arrested 20 people in connection with the investigation into alleged fraudulent claims in 2013.
The investigations, carried out by the Organised Crime and the Fraud units based at Anglesea Garda Station in Cork City, centre on road accident incidents around the country.
In March, 10 men and 6 women ranging in ages from 22 to 60 years were arrested in Cork arising from Operation Nascar.
Insurance Ireland claims that fraud costs insurance companies in Ireland an estimated €200m a year — and that this cost is paid by honest policyholders.
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