TWO young Kerry men who were jailed yesterday for five years spent two nights in Amsterdam blowing €6,000 they scammed from a pensioner for insulation work on his attic they never carried out.
They also pretended to be detectives concerned about criminals having access to an 80-year-old man’s accounts and they got him to withdraw €27,000 — most of his life savings — from credit union accounts through this scam.
On the last day of their criminal enterprise they drove him from his home in the Ballyphehane area of Cork to a credit union about one mile away to withdraw €4,000, and then left the 80-year-old to walk home afterwards.
Thomas O’Brien, aged 20, of Cullina, Beaufort, Co Kerry, and James Dooley, aged 21, of 105 Ballyspillane, Killarney, Co Kerry, were caught in the act the following day as the injured party was about to withdraw his last €4,000 to give to them.
Garda Chris Daly drove after them as they sped from the scene of this crime and he arrested them after a short chase.
The 80-year-old’s home help had raised the alarm when she overheard the man being put under pressure in a phone call.
At Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday, Judge Patrick J Moran imposed jail sentences of two concurrent five-year sentences on both defendants. Judge Moran said: “Your modus operandi was to come up from Killarney and carry on this very nasty behaviour, elderly people being your victims. You showed no respect for them.” The judge noted the victims in the case were now afraid to open their doors to strangers.
The pensioner at the centre of the attic scam indicated in writing, that as well as the financial loss he had suffered a loss of self-esteem that he could be conned by Dooley and O’Brien.
The two accused admitted making a gain for themselves by a deception carried out in Ballyphehane, Cork, between April 2 and April 6 last. They pleaded guilty to the charge of getting the elderly man to give them €27,000 over that period. Gardaí managed to recover €11,000, finding €3,000 cash and freezing an account with €8,000. They also admitted impersonating a garda during the deception.
They pleaded guilty to a second crime of deception in the Rochestown area of Cork on March 3 last by inducing a pensioner to pay them €6,000 for a piece of work that they never did, and which on investigation did not need to be done.
Detective Garda Gerard Murphy said no work was done and the two defendants flew to Amsterdam where they spent all of the €6,000 in two nights.
Donal O’Sullivan, barrister, said Thomas O’Brien was addicted to cocaine at the time and carried out these offences to pay off certain debts.
Donal McCarthy, barrister for Dooley, said the pleas of guilty had saved the state the cost of bringing trials and had spared the injured parties the distress of having to give evidence in court.
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