Man charged over alleged fraud at property tax helpline service

Judge accepts jurisdiction after hearing that none of the injured parties were at any financial loss


A Co Cork man has appeared in court charged over an alleged fraud in which people inquiring about filing their Local Property Tax returns were asked questions about their bank details.

Gardaí in Bishopstown in Cork began the investigation after management at business process outsourcer Abtran, which was operating a tax helpline for the Revenue Commissioners, became conerned over the behaviour of an employee.

At Cork District Court today, Jonathan Gough (22) with an address at Glyntown, Glanmire, Co Cork was charged with four offences relating to the alleged fraud at Abtran Building 4, University Technology Park on Curraheen in Cork in May this year.

Mr Gough, who no longer works for Abtran, was charged with dishonestly by deception inducing three women and a man on May 2nd, May 3rd, May 7th and May 9th, 2013 to provide their banking details under the pretext that they were making a payment for their local property tax.

It is alleged that Mr Gough did this with the intention of making gain for himself or causing a loss to another person contrary to Section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences Act) 2001.

Giving evidence of arrest, charge and caution, Det Garda James Bugler told the court the accused made no reply to any of the four charges when they were put to him.

Insp Pat Meaney said the DPP had directed that the matter be dealt with by way of summary disposal at District Court level. He asked to have the matter adjourned to November 6th for either a plea or to fix a date for trial if it is to be contested.

Applying for free legal aid, defence solicitor Daithi O’Donnabhain submitted a statement of means on behalf of his client, whom he said was unemployed and in receipt of social welfare.

Judge Tim Lucey accepted jurisdiction after hearing from Det Garda Bugler that there was no financial loss incurred by any of the four injured parties in the case. He granted Mr Gough free legal aid and remanded him on bail to appear again on November 6th .