Man denies historical replicas fraud

An educational supplies businessman was put on trial yesterday on charges of deception arising out of complaints that 15 primary schools paid him €250 for a set of replicas of historical artefacts but never received them.

The historical sets were to have included models of 17 items including the Ardagh chalice, a beehive hut, Gallarus oratory, a dolmen and the Book of Kells, reproduced at a factory in China.

Brendan O’Callaghan, aged 44, of 8, O’Sullivan’s Place, Mallow, Co Cork, pleaded not guilty to all 15 counts against him before a jury yesterday at Cork Circuit Criminal Court. The charges relate to dates in 2009 and 2010.

In a memo of interview with gardaí, the accused said he had been supplying educational goods to schools as a representative of a previous employer and later in his own business, Brendan O’Callaghan Educational Supplies, for 13 years.

He said he had suffered from depression and alcoholism for years. “I suffered the disease of alcoholism and depression. I am a businessman who was used to going around in a suit and a new car. A combination of the arse falling out of the economy and my own personal health problems put me in the position I am in today.”

The case continues before Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin.


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