Property developer jailed for bank scam

A pensioner property developer who orchestrated an elaborate mortgages fraud which saw Bank of Ireland scammed for almost €1m was jailed yesterday for four years.

Patrick (Patsy) Walsh, who turns 70 next month, of Tinahealy, Co Wicklow, jumped bail before his sentencing in 2014 in Cork but was arrested on a European warrant in Liverpool last month.

The warrant came to the attention of UK police when Walsh made a complaint about some matter in his locality, Detective Sergeant Mary Skehan told Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

She testified that Walsh was the main orchestrator of this elaborate and complex deception of Bank of Ireland, which paid out €970,000 in fraudulently obtained mortgages between February 2009 and September 2011.

The direct or indirect benefit from the complex scam amounted to direct or indirect benefit totalling over €765,000 for Walsh.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed a sentence of six years with the last two years suspended.

“This man was the orchestrator of this scam. He was there at conception and he was there to supervise every aspect of this scheme of dishonesty,” said Judge Ó Donnabháin.

“He was in it at all steps even to the extent of setting up false PPS numbers. Bank accounts were opened years previously (for those who would be brought in to apply for mortgages). Thinking about this went on for a long time. It all comes back and rests at Mr Walsh’s door.

A huge sum of money was involved. He stood to benefit in cash or kind to the amount of €765,000. There is still a substantial shortfall (for the bank).

"He did co-operate with the bank, allowing repossession of certain properties, and he co- operated in the sale of those properties.

“But it is a fraud at the higher end of the scale. The dishonesty is virtually complete. It is organised, determined, and continuous and it all emanates from this man,” said the judge.

Detective Sergeant Skehan said Walsh was the main orchestrator of this fraud.

Walsh is from Wicklow and was involved in the construction business in the UK and Ireland.

He got into financial difficulties and between February 2009 and September 2011 operated under a number of aliases.

He created false identities for several individuals who posed as legitimate purchasers of houses, all but two of which were owned by Walsh. False driving licences, P60s, PPS numbers, and payslips were created to facilitate the fraud.

Once mortgages were secured the individuals with false IDs handed over the mortgage cheques from Bank of Ireland to Walsh.

Mortgages ranged from €126,000 to €207,000 for six properties at Listowel, Co Kerry; Templemore, Co Tipperary; Cork City; and Buttevant, Co Cork, where there were three.

Several people benefited by being paid a few hundred euro up to €1,000 for the parts they played in the scam.

They were dealt with by the courts previously, and were mainly given suspended jail terms.

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