A con artist with a number of known aliases, Julia Holmes drew the attention of authorities here, in the North, and in the US where she perpetrated a number of frauds, duping people out of hundreds of thousands of euro.
Holmes’ last revealed con job was an alleged attempt to defraud a children’s charity in March.
The Sunday Times recently reported Holmes had offered to arrange a cooking demonstration with TV chef Neven Maguire for the organisation behind the Bumbleance, an ambulance service for sick children.
However, Holmes disappeared a week before the planned event after the Saoirse Foundation said it would collect the cash from the sale of the tickets from the event, despite her insistence that she would collect the money.
Mr Maguire was not involved in any way with the alleged attempted fraud, and participated in the charity night.
The €25-a-ticket event went ahead on March 25 at a school in Terenure, Dublin.
Under the alias Croen Ruttle, Holmes operated a Munster-based ‘artisan’ honey company.
It has been claimed that Bee Sensations imported honey and rebranded it as its own, and was so successful in passing it off as original that the company won a gold medal at the Irish Food Awards last year.
Last month, the Irish Food Awards said that it would be conducting “a complete and thorough review into the matter” after the allegations that the product that Bee Sensations claimed was “raw honey from our own hives” may have been imported.
Holmes was also imprisoned in the US for a scheme in which she conned people into buying from a non-existant property portfolio in Ireland.
In 2004, under the name Julia Parrish, Holmes was charged in a Texan court with four counts of fraud by wire, radio, or television, two counts of bank fraud, and six charges of misuse of a social security number.
She pleaded guilty on the third count of wire fraud and the 11 other charges against her were dismissed.
Holmes received 27 months imprisonment and was ordered to pay $517,000 (€457,000) restitution to her victims. Court documents relating to the conviction of her husband, Clyde Thomas Parrish, show the couple promised their victims a return on their investment of 400%.
Their most significant con was to take $392,000 from a Dennis E Rose over a period from July 2002 until August 2003.
In total, Holmes defrauded another four people of sums of $85,000, $20,000, and two of $10,000 each.
Parrish was imprisoned for six months and fined $2,000 for his role in concealing the fraud from the authorities.
It was reported that Holmes was subsequently deported back to the North from the US.
In 2012, police in the North issued an appeal for help in tracing Holmes, who skipped bail having been charged in Downpatrick Magistrates Court with fraud by misrepresentation totalling £18,000 (€24,900).
They issued a renewed appeal in May 2013, when the PSNI said that they believed Holmes may have been living in the Galway area.
Locals in Askeaton had recently alleged Holmes owed money for works carried out on a house in the county.
“We have been caught for about €15,000 worth of materials and I would say in total there is about €50,000 to €60,000 outstanding on the house,” one woman told the Limerick Leader. “There are various other contractors owed money too — painters, electricians, roofers.”
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