Trust sucking in desperate people, warns minister

A mysterious trust scheme is “sucking in desperate people”, a Government minister has warned.

Kathleen Lynch used a Dáil debate prompted by revelations in the Irish Examiner regarding the trust, to express concern about how it operates.

Ms Lynch said the trust was connected to over 500 applications to the Property Registration Authority that attempted to record on a State register the acknowledgement of a concept known as the living man.

The “Freemen on the Land” ideology, originating in Canada and the US, advances the notion that the legal person and living person are two distinct entities. “Under the belief system, the living person is not bound by law or court rulings unless and until the living person or freeman contracts to accept such law.

“Obtaining an entry on a State register of the recognition of the living man or freeman on the land is often a first tactical step within these groups. These applications were all rejected by the Property Registration Authority,” Ms Lynch said.

“People who are desperate are being sucked into this,” the minister added.

The Dáil debate was tabled by Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Niall Collins who said the Government had not done enough to tackle the situation.

“As a consequence of the desperate circumstances in which people find themselves, a highly dubious property trust has emerged claiming to be able to save people’s homes on the basis of a lacuna in the law of which, apparently, only the people operating the trust are aware…

“It is a major fraud and a scam being perpetrated throughout the country…

“What exactly is the Government going to do in this regard? At the heart of this is mass fraud and misrepresentation. Vulnerable people are being targeted and are effectively being taken for a financial scam but no one seems to be concerning themselves about it.”

Ms Lynch rejected claims Government had not done enough, stating: “I do not believe one can ever enact laws that will protect people who are quite desperate from making decisions for themselves and clearly, this is what is happening.

“However, I do not believe that other so-called trusts are operating in the country to the same extent as is this particular one. As the Property Registration Authority has noted, no applications have been made other than through this living man and freeman testimonial,” she told TDs.

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