AN OAP whose bank accounts were used for money laundering after he was “sucked in to a Facebook friendship” with an American woman has avoided jail.
James O’Rourke, 76, of Rosebrien, Newland’s Field, Crosshaven, Co Cork, today pleaded guilty to two counts of money-laundering in Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
The charges arose following a garda probe which occurred last year when O’Rourke allowed his bank accounts to be used for money laundering.
Over €120,000 was sent through fraudulent means from Sweden and France.
Det Gda James O’Reilly told the court the pensioner had no previous convictions and entered guilty pleas at the earliest opportunity.
The court heard O’Rourke, who gathered €1,500 in compensation, was at a financial loss from his activities.
His defence barrister Brian Leahy said he inadvertently got involved in criminality because of a lack of knowledge of internet scams.
Det Garda O’Reilly said the sums of money lodged in the accounts of the pensioner consisted of €52,000 sent from Sweden to the defendant’s Bank of Ireland account in April 2020.
Around this time two further sums were transferred from France to his Allied Irish Bank account. These amounts were just over €29,000 and €40,000.
The alarm was flagged by both banks and O’Rourke was detained for questioning by gardai.
He acknowledged he was the person in full control of both bank accounts.
Further investigations by gardai led to the confirmation the €52,000 originated from a company in Sweden and the other sums came from a firm in France.
Det Garda O’Reilly said both companies had fallen victim to “email re-direct fraud”. The companies in Sweden and France had made complaints to cops in their respective jurisdictions.
The €52,000 from Sweden was transferred to a bank account in Lithuania not long after it appeared in the Irish bank account of O’Rourke.
Judge Sean O Donnabhain heard O’Rourke had withdrawn just €1,570 from the monies sent from France.
The judge jailed O’Rourke for six months suspending the entirety of the sentence.