A man who allowed his bank accounts to be used to facilitate international bill forwarding fraud will later be convicted of money laundering.

a Coughlan (45) of Newcastle Manor Close, Newcastle, Co Dublin, pleaded guilty in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four counts of possession totaling € 159,250, believing or being reckless as to whether it was the proceeds of crime at an Allied Irish Bank and a Bank of Ireland account between June and October 2016.

He has no previous convictions.

Detective Garda Shane Fitzsimons told prosecution Sinéad McMullan BL that Gardaí had been contacted about a fraudulent payment of € 39,251 that was received into Coughlan’s AIB bank account.

It concerned the transfer of funds by a Turkish airline to what it believed to be a Ukrainian supplier.

The company had been contacted a few days earlier and asked to change the bank details for subsequent payment to its supplier.

They realized it was a fraud when the money was never received.

Gardaí obtained a search warrant at Coughlan’s home using information provided by the bank and Coughlan was arrested there on May 17, 2017.

Detective Gda Fitzsimons said while Coughlan was being held for questioning, additional information was received regarding a similar fraud.

A French plastics company transferred € 120,000 to Coughlan’s Bank of Ireland account after being ordered to change its supplier’s bank details before making the payment.

Coughlan told Gardaí in an interview that he was contacted by Nigerian men who asked him if they could use his bank account to start a business.

He was told he would get 10pc of the money deposited into the account.

Coughlan met a person in a phone store and provided him with his bank cards and login information.

He said he was told “someone needed money to get into Ireland” and Coughlan admitted he thought there was “something fishy about it”.

He said the same people then contacted him about the second company. He never got his 10pc reduction from the previous fraud and was told that when the French deals were done he would get all the money and an additional 10pc.

Detective Gda Fitzsimons said that with respect to the second fraud, Coughlan was ordered to transfer a total of € 30,000 to four different bank accounts at his branch.

It was admitted that Coughlan was not involved in the fraud itself.

Defending Padraig Dwyer SC told Judge Melanie Greally he would submit “a detailed medical history” to the court, but requested an adjournment to allow for the preparation of a probation service report.

Justice Greally adjourned the case to Nov. 9, when the lawyer will argue for Coughlan.

She said, however, that it was “pretty clear that this is an international fraud that can only work on the basis that people are happy to allow the use of their bank accounts.”


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