Five years' jail for man who stole €177,000
A FARMER who stole €177,000 from seven investors in an elaborate investment scheme has been given a 112-year jail sentence.
All sentences are to run concurrently, meaning Thomas Elvin (51), Meenacargagh, Ballybofey, Co Donegal will serve a total of five years in prison.
Elvin told the investors he could make millions through his company, Pear Shaped Resources.
But the scheme collapsed, leaving investors out of pocket. He was found guilty at an earlier trial of illegally operating an investment scheme on various dates between 2003 and 2005.
During his trial, Elvin, whose Pear Shaped Resources was based in the British Virgin Islands, claimed he was a penniless bible-believer who wanted to raise millions for benevolent causes.
He operated from a computer on his farm through internet contact with a US aide, Larry Marsella, who had a plan to raise 25 per cent profit a day on high-risk investments on international currency exchanges through a system known as ForEx.
Elvin admitted in court he hoped to turn $50,000 into $98 million dollars in 30 to 45 days but Marsella, whom he trusted, duped him.
Judge O’Hagan was told €38,000 from “frozen” money had been repaid to one female victim who lost €102,000 to Elvin. None of the rest of the cash was ever recovered.
The case was adjourned until yesterday for sentencing at Letterkenny Circuit Court, where he was facing 28 charges.
Senior counsel for Elvin, Desmond Murphy, said sending his client to prison would be of no benefit to those who had been left out of pocket.
“Whatever slight chance there is of people getting their money back – he can’t do that if he is in prison. None of the investors will get their money back and it will cost the State a considerable amount of money,” he said.
Mr Murphy read a short statement from Elvin in which he asked to be allowed get their money back, saying: “Please allow me to be a giver.”
Judge O’Hagan said Elvin’s plan was a sophisticated and elaborate one. “This was an elaborate, sophisticated and deliberate fraud of these good people. He took advantage of them because they had the same faith as him.
“They are good, God-fearing people and they trusted Mr Elvin up to the hilt and that he would look after them.
“This was an absolute pipe dream engineered by Mr Elvin and he comes in here and he says he planned no wrong. Every penny went to his benefit.”
Judge O’Hagan said it was a serious case of deliberate deception. “It’s a lot of money and for what? Nothing. Absolutely noting except pain, grief and loss of money by these good people and others.
“I am asked to keep him out of prison. What message would I send out to deceivers if I was not to send him to prison?” asked Judge O’Hagan.