Carrick-on-Shannon District Court

Man who 'scammed' elderly widower receives 10 month suspended sentence

Scam money used to pay a bill for damages

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A 36-year-old man who claimed he was trying to help his family raise money to pay a bill for damages by 'scamming' an elderly man out of €6,900, was given a 10 months suspended jail sentence by Judge Kevin P Kilrane.

Teague McGinley, Connaughton Road Carpark, Connaughton Road, Sligo was put on his election on the charge, electing to be dealt with in the district court and pleading guilty to a single count of, by deception, inducing Michael Connor by deceiving him into paying over €6,900 at O'Connell St Upper, Dublin 1 on January 23, last year.

Inspector Denis Harrington detailed how the defendant had called to the home of elderly widower, Michael Connor in Frenchpark on January 23, last year.

Mr McGinley knew the injured party for a number of years and conducted business with him in the past.

“Mr McGinley spun a story about how he needed cash to release a lorry belonging to him which he said had been seized by customs in Dublin Port,” explained Inspector Harrington in evidence, adding this was a “fairly common scam.”

Mr Connor, a retired builder, travelled to Dublin with the defendant and paid over €6,900.

Mr McGinley’s solicitor, acknowledged there had been “no truth” to the story his client had told the injured party regarding the lorry.

In mitigation Mr McGinley's solicitor said his client had two brothers who were recently before the courts in Sligo in relation to damage to a fire engine.

“The scam money was to be used to fund the damages,” he said.

“So it was solving one crime by committing another,” observed Judge Kilrane.

“It was a scam,” accepted the solicitor, but he pointed out his client “left quite a quantity of tools with the injured party as security and it was his intention to later recover the tools and repay the money.”

He added the tools were “all legitimate” and noted Mr McGinley had offered a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity and all money taken had been repaid to the injured party.

Handing down his ruling Judge Kilrane observed the number of previous convictions Mr McGinley had for “various criminal activities.”

He described the actions of Mr Connor in handing over the money in the first place as “very puzzling.”

“Why was he persuaded to part with €6,900 if he knew Mr McGinley for so many years? He must have been aware of what he was like,” said Judge Kilrane.

“It's only on that basis that (Mr McGinley) avoids a custodial sentence. It is difficult to understand the actions of the injured party. However it is still a very serious offence…. a premeditated scam,” he said.

“Mr McGinley was apparently helping his two brothers with paying compensation. It is a novel way of dealing with such a problem.”

He then convicted and sentenced Mr McGinley to 10 months in prison, suspending the sentence for two years on the provision that Mr McGinley incur no convictions for any indictable offences or any offences of violence, during this period.