A convicted fraudster who was jailed for four year for defrauding €2.3m through bogus pension schemes commission has been given an additional two years for further frauds in which he pretended to be his brother.
Noel Fitzpatrick, a 43-year-old insurance agent, was given the additional two years by Judge Katherine Delahunt for defrauding four banks of €84,000, dishonestly getting a passport and stealing documents which were in his brother’s name and which he used to commit the other crimes.
Fitzpatrick, of St Gabriels, Johnstown Road, Cabinteely, pleaded guilty to stealing an AIB bank statement, wage slips, a birth certificate and a P60 form, all in his brother’s name, from their family home on Lower Road, Shankhill on a date between October 10 and October 24, 2003.
He also admitted to dishonestly by deception obtaining a passport on October 7, 2003 by claiming to be his brother and to dishonestly obtaining bank loans from Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, National Irish Bank and Permanent TSB between November 10, 2003 and November 20, 2003, by pretending to be his brother.
Fitzpatrick had been living in Uganda in 2003 but stole the documents while on a six-week holiday home. He then returned to Uganda with almost €39,000 in defrauded cash.
He carried out these crimes after he had been questioned for the €2.3m fraud in September 2002 and made full admissions when questioned about these new offences on February 18, 2005.
Judge Delahunt at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court said he had "significantly abused the trust of his family" and had deceived banks into giving him money when he was under garda investigation for similar offences.
"This was a carefully planned and obviously premeditated operation," she said but added that Fitzpatrick had no doubt suffered regarding both his reputation and the loss of his family.
Judge Delahunt imposed two years imprisonment for stealing his brother’s documents and directed this was to be served consecutive to the four year term he is currently serving. She suspended the last 12 months of this sentence on condition that he keep the peace for 12 months on his release.
She also sentenced him to two years for fraudulently obtaining the bank loans and this term is to be served concurrent with his current prison term.
Detective Garda Philip Phibbs told Mr Dominic McGinn BL, prosecuting, that Fitzpatrick used the passport in his brother’s name along with his brother’s stolen personal documents to secure four loans amounting to €25,000, €20,000, €19,000 and €20,0000.
He was living in Uganda at the time and had returned to Ireland for a six week holiday when he stole his brother’s documents and his father’s phone bill.
Det. Gda Phibbs said Fitzpatrick lodged the loans money, bar €20,000, into a Bank of Ireland account he opened the day he secured the loans. He then withdrew €38,854 from this account over 10 transactions, leaving him with a profit of €58,854.
Fitzpatrick returned to Uganda with the €38,854 and the balance of €25,146 was seized by Bank of Ireland when the offences came to light.
Det. Gda Phibbs agreed with Mr Sean Guerin BL (with Mr Patrick Gageby SC), defending, that Fitzpatrick told gardai he lodged the €20,000 into the Bank of Ireland account to cover the repayments on all four loans.
He accepted that these offences were on a much smaller scale to those for which he was jailed last February. Det Gda Phibbs further accepted that Fitzpatrick was left effectively ruined both "financially and career-wise" when the €2.3m fraud came to light and took out these loans to help him "get started" in Uganda.
Mr Guerin told Judge Delahunt that his client was of "modest ability and led a modest lifestyle" up to 1999 when he was reunited with his estranged wife. They then bought a large house, mostly on credit, and a resulting "lavish lifestyle" led him to commit the earlier fraud.
Mr Guerin said the "tragedy in this case" was that Fitzpatrick "reached a new low" when he used his own family and stole from them to carry out this new fraud.
He said Fitzpatrick has been in Cloverhill Prison since February 4, 2005 where he had completed a "Smartians Listener Course" and was described as "a model prisoner".
Judge Delahunt jailed Fitzpatrick for four years last February after she heard that he formed ‘Terrintech Ireland’ as a bogus company and was paid the €2.3m in commission from three insurance companies by acting as an intermediary in setting up pension schemes on behalf of the company’s non-existent staff.
He had pleaded guilty on January 30, 2006 to seven sample charges of falsely pretending various named people were applicants for pension schemes at Canada Life Ireland, Friends First Ireland and New Ireland Assurance on dates between July 2000 and July 2001.
He also had pleaded guilty to securing a IR£400,000 loan in July 2001 from Anglo Irish Bank by falsely pretending he owned three properties and to providing a false document in the name of Terrintech Ireland to the Company Registration Office on March 03, 2002.
Fitzpatrick had to pay the monthly pension contributions to the various companies which resulted in his overall profit from the scheme being €1.6m.