Solicitor to be sentenced for €297k mortgage fraud

A Carlow solicitor, who took out a fraudulent mortgage after his father’s law firm got into trouble with the Law Society, will be sentenced next week.

Declan McEvoy, aged 50, was principal at the criminal law firm William Early Solicitors in Carlow town, when his father’s firm, JM McEvoy in Gorey, was being investigated. His father had also previously been State solicitor in the Wexford town.

The Law Society allowed Mr McEvoy Sr to retire from the firm on the condition that his son took it over. Declan McEvoy later used the €297,000 he fraudulently obtained from AIB in order to clear debts in his father’s firm.

Felix McEnroy, defending, told Judge Melanie Greally that “a series of skeletons started coming out of the cupboard” of the Gorey practice and McEvoy obtained a mortgage fraudulently “to mop it up and maintain both firms”.

“He made a very serious error in judgment” Mr McEnroy said “and he tried to solve problems that in many respects had not been his creation”.

McEvoy, who now has an address, in Melbourne, Australia, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dishonestly obtaining a mortgage with AIB for €297,000 on dates between May 5, 2009, and July 20, 2009. He has no previous convictions.

Detective Sergeant Martin Griffin told Ronan Kennedy, prosecuting, that when McEvoy accepted the offer from AIB, it was on the condition he was the registered owner of the property in Castleknock, Dublin, for which he was taking out the mortgage. It later transpired his sister was the owner of the house and McEvoy had acted as her solicitor when she later sold it for €310,000 in December 2009.

The buyer had put down a deposit on the property in August 2009, a month after McEvoy drew down his mortgage for the house.

Det Sgt Griffin said McEvoy made the monthly mortgage repayments until the High Court seized all his assets and froze his bank accounts in September 2011.

Another Carlow law firm, O’Gorman and Begley Solicitors, who signed the undertaking for McEvoy’s mortgage, was ultimately sued when the fraud was discovered and McEvoy wasn’t able to keep up with the repayments. Their insurance company later paid AIB €245,000, the balance remaining on the mortgage. AIB then reported the case to the Garda fraud squad.

McEvoy had been living in Australia since 2012 with his wife and teenage sons. He returned to Ireland last January, surrendered his passport, and pleaded guilty.

Judge Greally said she needed time to consider the case and adjourned sentencing until April 27. She remanded McEvoy on bail.

  • Former solicitor William Early has had no involvement with William Early & Co Solicitors since he sold the firm to Declan McEvoy in 1994.


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