Man pleads guilty to thefts over DoneDeal.ie adverts

Crimes emerge after complaint over €75 paid to Patrick Matthews (32) for One Direction ticket

At Ennis District Court (above), a native of Miltown Malbay in west Clare, Patrick Matthews (32), pleaded guilty to a total of 115 charges where 30 victims were ripped off of a total of €26,282. File photograph: Google Street View

At Ennis District Court (above), a native of Miltown Malbay in west Clare, Patrick Matthews (32), pleaded guilty to a total of 115 charges where 30 victims were ripped off of a total of €26,282. File photograph: Google Street View

 

A man appeared in court on Wednesday in connection with ripping off 25 individuals who paid over monies after seeing advertisements on the DoneDeal.ie website for holiday homes and a One Direction ticket.

At Ennis District Court, a native of Miltown Malbay in west Clare, Patrick Matthews (32), pleaded guilty to a total of 115 charges where 30 victims were ripped off of a total of €26,282.

The crime spree spanned from March 10th of last year to February 20th of this year.

The 25 DoneDeal victims were left €6,850 out of pocket as a result of Mr Matthews’s thefts.

Mr Matthews, of Bishop Street, Cork city, perpetrated the offences to fund debts that arose from his chronic addiction to betting machines known as one-armed bandits.

Insp Tom Kennedy said Mr Matthews’s offences included stealing 18 cheques from a deaf man he shared accommodation with and then cashing 13 of the cheques for a total of €7,252.

Insp Kennedy said the bank in question had fully reimbursed the deaf man.

Insp Kennedy said Mr Matthews cashed five further cheques from the deaf man at shops, creating an additional loss to the shops of €2,250.

Gardaí only became aware of Mr Matthews’s crime trail after a Co Tipperary woman, Helen McCormack, made a complaint to gardaí in Thurles after she paid €75 to Mr Matthews for a One Direction ticket that never materialised.

One Direction

Det Garda Orla Bambrick said Ms McCormack had responded to an ad on DoneDeal for One Direction tickets and lodged €75 on June 3rd, 2015, to Mr Matthews’s bank account.

Insp Kennedy said: “The tickets would have been very well sought after at the time.”

Det Garda Bambrick said as a result of the One Direction ticket offence, gardaí secured an order allowing them to inspect Mr Matthews’s bank account, and this helped to identify a further 24 injured parties.

Det Bambrick said the victims had all paid varying deposits for rentals for holiday homes that did not exist.

Insp Kennedy said Mr Matthews has 17 previous convictions, including eight for theft offences.

Defending solicitor Daragh Hassett said Mr Matthews had €3,000 in court as compensation, and intended to pay more.

Judge Patrick Durcan said he would adjourn the case for three weeks to allow victims to make victim impact statements at the next court date.

Judge Durcan said: “If I am not satisfied that there is a 100 per cent commitment to rehabilitate by Mr Matthews, I will be sentencing this man to the maximum two years in jail, less what he is entitled in respect of the pleas offered.”

Judge Durcan requested an updated probation report and remanded Mr Matthews on continuing bail to July 13th.