A judge has warned he is going to start jailing young people who engage in money laundering for criminal gangs, as cases continue to come before the courts.
Judge Martin Nolan made the comments in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court this week as he handed down a suspended two-year sentence for a young man who laundered over €58,000 in cash stolen from a car parts company.
Reece Radford (20) of Dromcarra Grove, Jobstown, Dublin pleaded guilty to one count of possessing the proceeds of crime within the state on October 26, 2018. He was 19 at the time, with no previous convictions.
Judge Nolan accepted defence counsel submissions that Radford was pressured into providing his bank account details by a local drug dealer, to whom he owed an €800 debt. But he noted: “Criminals are profiting and they are profiting with the help of people like Reece Radford.”
“Imprisonment is coming very close for other parties who come before this court for money laundering,” the judge said.
Detective Garda Ronan Coffey told Karl Finnegan BL, prosecuting, that the injured party in the case, a car parts supply company, became aware in November 2018 that it had become a hacking victim, in which an email between the company and a supplier had been intercepted.
As a result of the hacking, the company transferred €58,401 in funds to what it thought was one of its suppliers, but which was actually Radford's bank account.
Shortly after the money was transferred, a number of transfers were made out of Radford's account. Several currency conversion transactions also took place over the coming days, with Radford's passport being used as ID.
When gardaí traced the money to Radford and arrested him, Radford made no comment and did not cooperate, the court heard.
Cathal McGreal BL, defending, said this was regrettable, but that his client was given legal advice not to comment to gardaí.
He said Radford owed €800 to a local drug dealer and agreed to hand over his bank account details, along with his phone number and email address.
He was afraid to give out any names to gardaí, Mr McGreal submitted. He said his client comes from a respectable family, who were “very surprised” to have gardaí knocking on their door.
Radford has suffered from depression and has lost a number of friends and family in recent years, the court heard. He has a good work history, despite mental health issues.
“He is a vulnerable person who got way over his head,” Mr McGreal said.
Handing down the two year suspended sentence, Judge Nolan told Radford: “You're a lucky man.” He ordered Radford to engage with the Probation Service for one year.
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