A counterfeiting scheme to print sterling £50 notes was uncovered in Youghal over nine years ago and now one of those involved in the crime has come before the court for sentencing. Garda Seán Kilgrew gave evidence in the case against Eugene Twomey at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
The offence dated back more than nine years to January 25 2013 when specialist inks, papers, printing and copying equipment and blades for cutting up notes were discovered in the East Cork town.
Gardaí and officers of the Revenue Commissioners went to the apartment at South Main Street, Youghal, where the accused was living at the time. A warrant was obtained to allow for a search to be conducted.
“A large quantity of materials for printing and photocopying of £50 Sterling notes were found,” Garda Kilgrew said.
Alan O’Dwyer, defence barrister, suggested that it would have been a long and complex trial had it not been for the guilty plea. Garda Kilgrew agreed that it would have been a very difficult prosecution, not least in terms of the availability of witnesses, a number of whom have now retired from the positions they had relevant to this case.
“I don’t think he would have had the practice and knowledge to access these materials without direction,” Garda Kilgrew said, adding that some of the materials for the counterfeit operation had been sourced in Romania and more of them in China. Garda Kilgrew agreed that this offence was completely out of character for the accused.
After the search but before being charged, the defendant went to the UK where he had worked successfully and was ultimately arrested and charged when he returned to Youghal for a visit in 2017.
Garda Kilgrew said there was a further lengthy adjournment at that stage as the Director of Public Prosecutions examined the evidence gathered on three parties but ultimately only recommended charging Eugene Twomey.
However, Garda Kilgrew said that Twomey was at the lowest level of the counterfeiting operation and effectively allowed his property to be used as a place to store the materials. Of the other two parties – never prosecuted – one was believed to have been the organiser while the other was the enforcer.
Judge Helen Boyle was told that Twomey’s skills in deep excavation and pipe-laying was much sought after in construction.
Judge Boyle said, “Garda Kilgrew believes you were at the bottom rung of this organisation and that you did not have the knowledge to set up this operation. It is not believed that you had the skill set to mastermind this scheme. It is believed your apartment was being used to store the equipment.
The judge accepted that the accused had health problems and that his partner had serious health concerns in the UK. Imposing the two-year sentence Judge Boyle said she would suspend it in its entirety.
Twomey, who is now 58 and whose address on the charge sheet appeared as An Cluain, Dungarvan, County Waterford, said as the sentencing concluded, “Thank you very much your honour.”
The charge states that on January 25 2013 he had under his control materials and implements for counterfeiting, namely a Dell computer, a Cannon photocopier and printer, foiled paper, printing paper, stainless steel sheets, paper cutting machine, ultra violet inks, Stanley knives, £50 pound Sterling note templates, printed sheets with watermarks, disposable gloves and overalls which you intended to use or permit others to use for the purpose of making counterfeit currency notes with the intention that they be passed or tendered as genuine.