A middle-aged man failed to show up in court for his sentencing for stealing €35,000 because he was sick with fear and today he was jailed for 18 months.
Detective Garda Denise Fitzgerald testified that a 71-year-old man was introduced through a mutual friend to the accused man Tim Shelly of Crosshaven Road, Carrigaline, County Cork.
Shelly told him a bogus story about development land in Estonia that would be used in a scheme to attract Chinese and Russian business into Europe. He encouraged the injured party to invest.
Det. Garda Fitzgerald said this was back in 2012 and to date the injured party who had been promised a high-interest return on his investment has only been paid back €1,350 out of his total €35,000 investment.
The detective said the 71-year-old had asked for his money to be repaid to him over the years but to no avail until he realised that he had been duped.
Shelly, 55, who is originally from Cloughjordan, County Tipperary, was later interviewed by gardaí and he admitted that there was never a development opportunity in Estonia in which he was investing on the injured party’s behalf. Instead, he was keeping the money for his own day-to-day domestic expenses.
Defence barrister, Paula McCarthy, said there was no question of the accused man living the high life and had simply spent the money to get by. He did express remorse and said he would pay back the money if given the opportunity.
Det. Garda Fitzgerald said the accused had nine years to repay it and had failed to do so.
Garda Stephen Cleary arrested Tim Shelly and brought him before Cork Circuit Criminal Court last Friday following his previous failure to appear for sentencing.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin asked on that occasion, “Why did he not show up?”
The judge was told that Shelly was literally sick from fear.
A total of €35,000 was stolen through cheques received by the accused at Maxol service station, Ballinwillin, Mitchelstown, County Cork, on three dates in 2012 - €15,000 on February 18, €10,000 on August 1 and €10,000 on August 10.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said, “There has been a plea of guilty which I take to be a significant benefit to state. The victim was an elderly man and giving evidence would have been traumatic for him. It was a very deliberate offence committed over a number of months. He knew he hadn’t a hope of paying it back.
“He was getting money on an extravagant claim of uniting the Russians and the Chinese in Estonia and he got someone to part with his money.”
The judge imposed a total sentence of two years with last six months suspended.