Gardai challenge move by man to repay fraud money


A car dealer who claimed he was unable to repay £12,000 to a bank he had defrauded was found 25 days later with £52,000 sterling and £33,000, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has been told.

Mr Clive Bolger handed over the remaining £4,700 he had been ordered to repay to AIB Leasing, despite strong Garda reservations about the source of the money.

Det Sgt Denis O'Sullivan said he felt initially that if Mr Bolger was given the opportunity to repay the £12,000, it would lead to further crime.

Mr Paul Coffey, prosecuting, also told Judge Kieran O'Connor that 25 days after Mr Bolger had been allowed an extra six months to repay the £12,000, he and two other men were arrested on suspicion of money-laundering following the discovery of £52,000 sterling in the cab of a truck.

A further £33,000 was found in a car which had been hired by Mr Bolger. Mr Coffey said Mr Bolger was also suspected of helping Dublin criminal Francis "The Lamb" Cunningham to skip bail. Cunningham was jailed for five years in December for fraud.

Mr Bolger (29), of Staplestown, Donadee, Co Kildare, pleaded guilty in January 1999 to two offences of fraud committed in October and November 1994.

He was given a three-year suspended sentence in January 1999 and ordered to carry out 100 hours' community service as well as to repay the £12,000 outstanding to AIB Leasing.

Det Sgt O'Sullivan told the court he had serious objections to Mr Bolger's attempts to repay the remaining £4,700 to AIB. He said gardai had discovered that a cheque presented to the court by Mr Bolger belonged to another person who had borrowed the money from a bank for a car loan. However, the car had never been purchased.

Judge O'Connor said the circumstances might be suspicious but gardai were still investigating the matters mentioned to the court.

He said he always liked to take a "happy" view of the honesty of an accused person and Mr Bolger should be free to go while gardai continued the investigation into his affairs. Mr Coffey said the case could come before the court again.

Mr Bolger's solicitor, Mr Michael Hanahoe, said his client might not be the most popular man but that was as far as the case went.

Det Sgt O'Sullivan told the court in January 1999 that the bank had been defrauded of £12,000 by Mr Bolger as part of a £60,000 scheme he operated with two respected restaurant owners, Mr Patrick Gallagher and Mr Patrick Shovlin - then the owners of Blades in Santry - to divert legitimate car loans for other uses.

He said Mr Bolger had used false registration plates and VAT numbers in the fraud and mixed "with some very serious criminals". Det Sgt O'Sullivan said Mr Bolger did "a solo run" in November 1994 and defrauded the bank of £12,000, which he used to pay business debts. Mr Gallagher and Mr Shovlin repaid the money they received. The scheme was uncovered because the registration numbers chosen by Mr Bolger were far higher than the number of cars sold in Dublin that year.

Mr Brendan Grogan SC, defending, told the January 1999 hearing that Mr Bolger came from a privileged background and was a hard worker.

He had been in the motor trade all his life and operated his own business following the collapse of the family business in 1993.