Man denies defrauding US woman of millions
A New York-based Irish man has denied claims he has defrauded a 60-year-old American woman of millions, the High Court heard yesterday.
Elisa Rodino claims Thomas J Queally, who had been engaged to her, has stolen about $4 million (€3 million) of her money – a large portion of which was lodged by him into a bank in Ennis, Co Clare.
She also claims Mr Queally, whom she has not seen for months, had been living a double life and had another fiancée while engaged to her.
Yesterday at the High Court Mr Queally’s lawyers said claims he had transferred money from a joint bank account in the US to his bank in Ireland without Ms Rodino’s authorisation were untrue.
The court also heard Mr Queally rejects her claims that Ms Rodino was his fiancée or that he was engaged to another woman in New York.
Last month Ms Rodino’s lawyers secured a number of temporary freezing orders against Mr Queally, Sherman Avenue, Yonkers, New York, who is originally from Kilmaley, Co Clare. They prevent him reducing funds below €1.6 million held in a bank account at Permanent TSB in Ennis.
Ms Rodino, Cathedral Avenue, Hempstead, New York, claims the money in the Ennis account, approximately $2 million (€1.5 million), is hers. She claims it was moved by Mr Queally from a joint account in the US in both their names.
Yesterday, Patricia Hill, for Mr Queally, said her client rejected all the allegations. He had become aware from media coverage of the claims against him and had remained in Ireland to meet the case, Ms Hill said. She said that on October 18th last Ms Rodino had signed a document at a New York bank that stated any funds transferred from a joint account to Mr Queally’s account was done with her full permission. This document was executed in the presence of a notary, she said. Ms Hill said Ms Rodino had failed to mention this and made no mention of it when seeking the freezing orders.
She said it was intended to ask the court to vacate the freezing order as there had not been a full disclosure of all material facts to the court.
She also told the court that Mr Queally rejected claims his two teenage children from his previous marriage had been put through private Catholic schools in New York with money taken from Ms Rodino.
Mr Queally’s children had been attending private schools from an early age and years before he and Ms Rodino met.
Ross Gorman, for Ms Rodino, said any application to set aside the freezing orders would be opposed and he wanted the injunction to remain pending the outcome of the full hearing.
Mr Gorman asked for the matter to be adjourned. Mr Queally’s replying affidavit was received on Wednesday, and Mr Gorman said the Irish-based legal team needed time to consult their client and her US lawyers.
Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley agreed to adjourn the matter to early next week.
Last month the High Court heard Ms Rodino was a vulnerable woman who had been taken advantage of by Mr Queally, whom she met in 2007.
She claims that last August, to aid Mr Queally in a court case against a former employer, she agreed to put his name on one of her accounts. It was a deposit account that contained $5 million. She claims Mr Queally asked her to do this because it would show he and Ms Rodino, who had inherited a sizeable property portfolio from her late father, were a couple and the work he did on her properties was not a contract of employment, the court heard.
She claims Mr Queally was due to meet her in Spain last October but never showed up. When she arrived back in the US she discovered money had been transferred to the bank in Ennis and to a US bank account.