A fraudster yesterday appeared in court in connection with ripping off 25 individuals who paid over monies after seeing ads on the DoneDeal.ie website for holiday homes and a One Direction ticket.

At Ennis District Court, Patrick Matthews, aged 31, pleaded guilty to a total of 115 charges where 30 victims were ripped off of a total of €26,282.

The crime spree spanned from March 10, 2015, to February 20 this year.

The 25 ‘DoneDeal’ victims were €6,850 out of pocket as a result of Matthews’ theft.

Matthews, a native of Miltown Malbay Co Clare, of Bishop Street, Cork City went on his crime spree to fund debts that arose from his chronic addiction to ‘one-armed bandits’.

Insp Tom Kennedy said that Matthews’ offences also involved stealing 18 cheques from a deaf man that he shared accommodation with and Matthews cashing 13 of the cheques totalling €7,252.

The inspector said the bank in question fully re-imbursed the deaf man.

Insp Kennedy said that Matthews cashed five further cheques from the deaf man at shops creating an additional loss to the shops concerned of €2,250.

Gardaí only became aware of Matthews’ crime trail after a Co Tipperary woman, Helen McCormack made a complaint to gardaí in Thurles after she paid over €75 to Matthews for a One Direction ticket that never materialised.

Det Garda Bambrick said at a result, gardaí secured an order that allowed them inspect Matthews’ bank account and this identified a further 24 injured parties.

Det Bambrick said that the victims had all paid varying deposits for rentals for holiday homes that did not exist.

All of the injured parties had responded to donedeal.ie adverts for holiday homes across the country. The typical deposit amounts paid out ranged from €200 to €400.

Insp Kennedy said that Matthews also pleaded guilty to stealing three cheques from a Denis Moore who was Matthews’ brother-in-law at the time.

The inspector said that Matthews cashed the three cheques to a total of €1,650.

Insp Kennedy said that Matthews worked as a salesman for a Cork-based food firm and went around the country with a refrigerated van selling meat to households.

He said Matthews took the credit card details of two customers and made authorised transactions from their accounts totalling €6,370.

Judge Patrick Durcan

adjourn the case for three weeks to allow victims make victim impact statements at the next court date.


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