Longford District Court
If that’s a fake, I’m fooled: Man charged with possession of €860 in fake cash
A man charged with being in possession of approximately €860 in counterfeit currency has been fined €250 with three months to pay.
John Keenan, 3 Cluain Ard, Ardnacassa, Longford, appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes at a recent sitting of Longford District Court and pleaded not guilty to the possession of counterfeit money.
“He’s pleading not guilty because it’s not counterfeit money,” said his defence solicitor, Bríd Mimnagh.
“So it’s genuine?” asked a sceptical Judge Hughes.
“No, it’s not genuine - it’s toy money,” Ms Mimnagh replied.
“The only money I know you can get in a toy shop is monopoly money,” said an unconvinced Judge Hughes, examining a counterfeit €20, which was handed to him.
Sgt Mark Mahon, in the interest of comparison, produced a €20 note.
“Is that a genuine one? Here, we’ll swap so,” Judge Hughes joked.
Ms Mimnagh explained that Mr Keenan was given this money by “a foreign fella” who told him it was prop money for making films or staging plays.
“If that’s fake, I’m fooled,” said Judge Hughes.
“It’s very clearly written on the side that it’s fake,” Ms Mimnagh insisted.
“The only person who thinks it’s obviously not counterfeit is Ms Mimnagh,” Judge Hughes observed.
“You can buy them on Amazon,” Ms Mimnagh replied
“Show me,” said Judge Hughes.
The accused then produced a printout of an Amazon page that showed the price of 200 counterfeit tenners to be €9.64. A large quantity of counterfeit notes were found in the home of the accused, but Ms Mimnagh insisted that Mr Keenan used them for card games with his family.
When giving evidence to the court, Mr Keenan explained that he was given the counterfeit currency by a foreign neighbour.
“They were beside the mantelpiece on top of the dresser in the living room. I explained to the guard that a foreign lad I knew handed them to me,” he said.
“I said ‘what’s this?’ and he said ‘it’s movie money - do what you want with it’. I put them above the mantelpiece but no fire was lit to burn them.”
The counterfeit cash was found during a raid at the home of the accused, the court heard.
“Gardaí need a reason for a search warrant. What reason would they have to search your house?” Judge Hughes asked the accused.
“I don’t know,” said Mr Keenan.
Ms Mimnagh explained that members of the Criminal Assets Bureau were in Longford on that particular day and that “they may have been searching other houses of people with the same name”.
“But they must give a reason for the search. CAB searched this home,” Judge Hughes insisted
Sgt Mahon, for the prosecution, explained that he did not want to read out the details of the search warrant as an active investigation was still taking place.
When questioning her client, Ms Mimnagh asked if Mr Keenan had used any of the counterfeit cash, to which he responded no
“Did you know it was movie money?” she asked.
“Yes, I used it to play poker,” Mr Keenan replied.
“They (CAB) searched the rest of the house. I didn’t stop them.”
Mr Keenan explained that a foreign man came over to him when he was driving through Ardnacassa with his wife in the car.
“Who was this stranger and which house does he live in?” Judge Hughes asked.
“I don’t know,” Mr Keenan responded
“You don’t know. But what you do know is that you can go on Amazon and buy them. I didn’t know that. Nobody knows that. This is counterfeit money of high quality,” said Judge Hughes.
“It’s not,” Ms Mimnagh objected.
“I think it’s high quality,” Judge Hughes shot back.
“I would respectfully disagree. It looks like it was photocopied and cut out,” Ms Mimnagh replied.
“I'm sure you have half a dozen €20 notes in your purse, Ms Mimnagh,” Judge Hughes joked.
“I doubt it,” Ms Mimnagh laughed.
“If I put this with six of them and shuffle them, you wouldn’t be able to pick out the fake one,” Judge Hughes replied.
At this point, Sgt Mahon revealed that some of the counterfeit notes have surfaced around town and that it was highlighted in local media.
“If Sgt Mahon is giving that kind of evidence against my client, he’ll have to give evidence of where this money was circulated,” Ms Mimnagh insisted.
Judge Hughes, however, was satisfied that he had heard enough and fined Mr Keenan €250 with three months to pay.
“That’s €250 in genuine notes - be on the watch out for counterfeit notes,” he said.
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