A SOUTH African student was sentenced to five years with the last four years suspended on condition that he would leave Ireland for setting up a scam in Cork to get bill-pay phones to sell on the internet.
Judge Gerard O’Brien said at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that the bulk of the sentence would be suspended on condition that the accused would leave Ireland within three months of his release from prison.
The judge said the probation report was extremely negative and expressed the view that he had been dishonest with services.
“I have grave reservations in relation to the matter. The level of sophistication and premeditation is alarming to say the least.
“I am impressed by the letter about his change of heart. Concerning is the probation report that he is a high risk of reoffending. I don’t believe he is learning from his offending.
“It is society that suffers from crimes like this.”
Detective Garda Anne Flynn who investigated the fraud said that Brandon Abrahams got false driving licences and utility bills with various Cork addresses for the purpose of obtaining bill-pay phones.
The fraudulent activity was investigated following a complaint from a member of staff at the 3 network about a man committing fraud with mobile phone contracts.
Det Garda Flynn said, “I commenced an investigation. A search warrant was obtained. The property he was residing in was searched.
“Essentially what he did was he obtained false driving licences and utility bills from the internet. He used these false licences and utility bills to enter into phone contracts.
“Generally, €550 Samsung phones were obtained.
“He would also report the phones lost and he would get a replacement phone. He sold phones on the internet.
“The total number of phones was valued at over €6,600. On two occasions he reported phones lost. He called to Anglesea Street and the Bridewell garda stations to do this. He used the false licences to report the phones lost.”
The detective agreed with Det. Garda Flynn that the accused man co-operated with the investigation and pleaded guilty to various offences and that this obviated the necessity for a trial that would have required a lot of witnesses.
Brandon Abrahams of The Annex, 4 Nursery View, Glasheen Road, Cork, was charged by Detective Garda Anne Flynn with 22 charges.
Ten of the counts related to the alleged acquiring of phones by deception such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 from various phone shops, mainly at 3 stores in Cork, Dublin and Clonmel. Other charges are related to using false documentation related to these offences.
Abrahams testified at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, “First and foremost I would like to apologise to the courts and the guards for my actions.
“I came here six years ago. I was in a very volatile situation in South Africa. My mother suffers from bi-polar. My parents separate.
“I was not able to pay my fees. I was not entitled to social welfare or any benefits or any supports.
“I don’t have any plans of reoffending in the future. It is my first time in prison. It has opened by eyes.”
Niamh Stewart BL said, “He has no status in this country so he was not on social welfare. He has no drug or alcohol addiction. He was neglected by his mother and living on the streets in South Africa.”