A former psychic convicted of the money laundering of €1.6 million has been jailed for seven and a half years.
Simon Gold (54) with an address of Augharan, Aughavas, Co. Leitrim, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to charges including money laundering, theft, deception and control of false instruments on dates between January 1, 2010 and October 22, 2012.
After over two weeks of evidence, the jury returned a verdict of guilty on 20 counts after deliberating for over 12 hours. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty on a single count of deception relating to €28,000 transferred by a County Galway farmer to a bank account linked to Gold.
While passing sentence yesterday (Wednesday) Judge Martin Nolan said that Gold was a very intelligent man and that “these were devious and well thought out crimes”.
Judge Nolan said that two of the Irish victims in this case were “desperate” men “at the end of their tether” and that Gold took advantage of them. He said Gold caused these men distress and embarrassment.
He said these were crimes involving “gross dishonesty” and that while Gold was a man of enterprise and intelligence, he “applies his acumen to crime.”
Judge Nolan sentenced him to seven and a half years imprisonment for both of the counts of money laundering. He also sentenced him to three years imprisonment for each of the three deception charges for which he was convicted.
He ordered that all sentences will run concurrently to each other resulting in an operating prison sentence of seven and a half years. He backdated the sentence to the date he first went into custody May 18, 2018.
Detective Garda Ciaran Cummins told Lorcan Staines SC, prosecuting, that Gold changed his name by deed poll from Niall O'Donoghue in the United Kingdom. Gold also represented himself as Simon Gould, Stephen Gould and Simon Magnier.
Dt Gda Cummins said that Gold operated a number of companies such as Anglo Irish Global, Irish Nationwide Bank, Belgravia Consultants Ltd and Elite Banking Group, none of which were actually banks.
When investigating the money laundering offences, gardaí seized a computer owned by Gold upon which they found evidence of earlier frauds committed against three Irish men who sought private financing following the recession in the late 2000's.
“Mr Gold seemed to prey on people who were in severe financial difficulty,” said Dt Gda Cummins.
Gardaí also discovered recordings of phone conversations between Gold and another man from around the time of the money laundering offences.
Dt Gda Cummins said that during the recordings, Gold could be heard to say that he could facilitate to move the money, but that it had to be done through Simon Gold and then “Simon Gold will disappear”.
Gold can be heard to say that “it has to be legitimised” and the only way it can be is through trade. He said that if it was not for him then it would have fallen apart ages ago.
He can be heard to say that the first flag that is raised “we're fucked”, they will freeze the account and we will get nothing. He said it does not make sense to “pilfer” the account immediately.
Gold has 17 previous convictions, 12 of which were in the United Kingdom. These include convictions for burglary, theft, larceny and escaping from lawful custody.
Dominic McGinn SC, defending, said there were 20 years between these convictions and this offending. He said Gold was raised by his grandmother and has a son with whom he has very little contact.
Mr McGinn said that money laundering was often linked to terrorism or drug trafficking and that his client's crimes were not in that category.