‘Gang member’ told not to dispose of house

A man described by gardaí as “a senior figure” in a Limerick crime gang has been ordered by the High Court not to dispose of a house in Tipperary and a car which are suspected to have been acquired from the proceeds of crime.

John Tobin has a prolonged history of involvement in criminality and is a senior figure in the Collopy/Keane organised crime group, according to the chief officer in the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Mr Tobin opposed CAB’s application for a restraining order on sale/disposal of the house in Newport, which cost €35,000 and on which some €70,000 was spent renovating it.

The freezing order was also against his partner, Susan Moloney, mother of his seven children and who lives in the house, called Derryleigh.

It also applies to a Toyota Avensis, which cost €28,800 inclusive of trade-in.

CAB said both have been on social welfare since 1994, while Mr Tobin claimed he was at one time involved in a rubbish removals business which failed.

Mr Tobin’s accounts showed some €349,000 in unidentified lodgments between 2007 and 2011, said CAB. This is over and above €90,000 received from the Limerick Regeneration Scheme for their former family home in St Mary’s Park. It is also exclusive of some €84,700 the couple received for six insurance claims, says CAB.

Mr Tobin argued that his partner is the full owner of Derryleigh, which was bought for €35,000 and on which, said Ms Moloney, €70,000 was spent on refurbishments.

She said the purchase price came from money set aside from a compensation payment she received, along with a €15,000 credit union loan. The refurbishments of Derryleigh were funded from the proceeds of the sale of St Mary’s Park, they said.

Ms Moloney refuted suggestions the money came from the proceeds of crime.

She said after St Mary’s Park was sold, she withdrew €80,000 for refurbishment of Derryleigh. Part of €19,000 cash found in a Garda search in May 2011 was from that withdrawal, including €8,400 found in the underwear of a young female.

She said she bought the Toyota Avensis from the St Mary’s Park proceeds. However, a CAB forensic accountant said it was partially financed from funds channelled through her 17-year-old daughter’s account, as well as from unknown sources and the St Mary’s Park money.

Her daughter, who had provided €4,000 for that transaction, had received €11,000 compensation from a road traffic accident and claimed to have earned money from selling Avon products on DoneDeal.

Granting CAB a freezing order, Mr Justice Raymond Fullam ruled the couple had not discharged the onus of proving the property did not represent the proceeds of crime.

However, after reviewing various payments made in relation to the purchase of Derryleigh, the judge was satisfied some of it came from legitimate sources, including the sale of St Mary’s Park.

Ms Moloney was therefore entitled to an 11% interest in any eventual sale of Derryleigh, he said.

The judge also said the couple had given contradictory accounts on the source of the money to buy Derryleigh. There was no bridging loan even though were four months between the receipt of the proceeds of St Mary’s Park and the completion of the purchase of Derryleigh, he said.

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