€8,800 in cash was transferred from Ireland to Romania in the past two months by a Romanian couple who claimed that they were living on the street outside a church in Cork.
Detective Garda Aoife Hayes alleged that the €8,800 was transferred in 15 transactions and that receipts to this total amount were stored on the couple’s shared phone.
Det. Garda Hayes arrested Gheorghe Marginica, 29, of no fixed address on Saturday, March 27, and brought him before Cork District Court.
He was charged with stealing €60 in cash from a student at an ATM on St. Patrick’s Street, Cork, on Saturday, March 27.
Det. Garda Hayes said that a key was found on the young man and gardaí believed it was for some address but that the defendant was not disclosing the address.
The detective said gardaí had checked with the Simon community and found that they had determined that he was not in need of accommodation from Simon. They could not find any indication of him sleeping on the street.
He has not told us where that key is for. He is stating he is homeless. Simon’s night services have not come across him.
And the money was transferred between February 17 2021 and March 24 2021.
“I believe he will leave the jurisdiction if granted bail,” Det. Garda Hayes said.
With the assistance of a Romanian interpreter, he said in English, “I sleep in front of the church.”
Sgt. Pat Lyons said gardaí had examined the areas surrounding the relevant church – St. Mary’s on Pope’s Quay - and found nothing to link the defendant to this location.
Daithí Ó Donnabháin, solicitor, said both parties had given names consistent with the names as shown on their passport/national identification papers.
Judge Olann Kelleher refused bail and remanded him in custody until March 31.
The detective also objected to bail being granted to co-accused Michele Judele, 30, who faces the same charge of stealing €60 from the student.
Det. Garda Hayes testified, “She has again failed to give an address even though there is a key in their possession and they are not saying where the key is from. She is saying she is homeless but she has no belongings on her. Simon Community assessed her as not in need of homeless services. There is evidence of wealth on her mobile phone which she shares with her husband.”
Michele Judele said they were sending this money home to her husband’s mother for their two children. She also confirmed under cross-examination that they were not working and not in receipt of any social welfare.
Both defendants are charged with theft. Det. Garda Hayes said, “The allegation is that they approached a student asking for money. He said he did not have change. They persisted. They asked him for €33 for a bus to Dublin.
"He said he complied out of fear and intimidation.”
Det. Garda Hayes said, “When asked where they got €8,800, that they had sent home, they said they got it from people helping them. It is our belief they got it from circumstances similar to those alleged in the charge before the court.”
Bail was also refused to Judele who was remanded in custody until March 31.