A KERRY man with a track record in duping elderly women and men to pay him for work that was never done was jailed for three years for conning an elderly woman of over €10,000 she had saved to pay for her own funeral.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin described as mean and despicable the thefts carried out by 29-year-old Denis O’Brien of 2 Hazelwood Drive, Ballyspillane, Killarney, County Kerry.
Detective Garda John Gleeson said the crimes were committed from September 26, 2019, when Denis O’Brien called to the home of a 74-year-old woman at Brian Dillon Park in Cork.
He stated to her he was a nephew of her neighbour and he was doing work for her and she agreed to sign a cheque for €4,900 (to a man’s name, not Denis O’Brien).
“He stole another blank cheque and he took €600 from her house.
“Another man went to the AIB on Patrick Street later that day and cashed the €4,900,” Det. Garda Gleeson testified.
The defendant returned to the 74-year-old the following day and she went to her local credit union where she withdrew €4,500 and handed it to Denis O’Brien.
Another man went to the bank and tried to cash the blank cheque which was then filled in but the funds were not in the account to meet this withdrawal.
On October 30 he offered to pay her back but said he would be doing so with a €15,000 cheque but that first she would have to pay him €5,000 in cash.
Det. Garda Gleeson said that the total amount for which the elderly woman was out of pocket was over €10,000.
Paula McCarthy, defence barrister, said the defendant was full of remorse and had written a letter of apology to the elderly woman which he handed over in court. He also wanted time to pay compensation to her.
Judge Ó Donnabháin noted from the victim impact statement that the €10,000 stolen from the 74-year-old by deceptions was money she had put aside to relieve others of the financial burden of her funeral.
The case had been adjourned before lunch yesterday until the afternoon as a proposal was being made by the defendant to gather compensation from family members Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said, “In cases like this I worry from bitter experience about where it (compensation) is coming from.” Paula McCarthy BL said members of his family were genuinely trying to gather it.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said, “It sounds like a hairy story to me… What I would be concerned about is that another stunt like this would be pulled somewhere else.” Det. Garda Gleeson outlined details of previous convictions which Denis O’Brien had for theft by deception where the victims were elderly and they were duped into paying money for work O’Brien never did.
The detective said the victims included an 80-year-old woman, a 68-year-old woman, a 67-year-old man, and an 86-year-old man.
Ms McCarthy BL said O’Brien, a father-of-five, had a cocaine addiction and mental health issues and was engaging with counselling in prison.