'Gullible' apprentice electrician avoids jail after account used to launder over €50,000

Sean William O'Rourke (21) responded to an ad on Snapchat, allowing his account to be used by money launders as a 'way of making a few quid'
'Gullible' apprentice electrician avoids jail after account used to launder over €50,000

Isabel Hayes

An apprentice electrician who money laundered more than €50,000 after answering an ad on Snapchat has been ordered to carry out 100 hours of community service in lieu of a 20-month jail sentence.

Sean William O'Rourke (21) told gardaí he agreed to hand over his bank card to money launderers after seeing an ad on social media in order to “make a few quid”, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard on Monday.

O'Rourke was told he would receive a “couple of thousand euro” if he allowed his bank account to be used, Detective Garda David Jennings told the court.

O'Rourke, with an address at Glenview Lawns, Tallaght, Dublin, pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering within the State on February 7th, 2021. He has no previous convictions.

Sentencing O'Rourke, Judge Martin Nolan said the court has been dealing with a lot of similar cases of young people with no prior criminal records getting involved in money laundering.

'Epidemic'

“This epidemic is going to have to stop somehow,” Judge Nolan said. “If that means young people go to jail to stop it, those young people are going to have to go to jail.”

The judge said he would not jail O'Rourke on this occasion, but ordered him to carry out 100 hours of community service in lieu of a 20-month jail sentence, provided he is deemed suitable by the Probation Service. The judge adjourned the matter to March 1st to confirm the sentence.

Det Gda Jennings told Lisa Dempsey BL, prosecuting, that an email between a company and a client was hacked, leading to the company paying a sum of €52,186 into the wrong account.

The fraudulent transaction came to light when the client contacted the company seeking the payment they had not received. The money was traced to O'Rourke's account, which was frozen immediately.

When interviewed by gardaí, O'Rourke said he had seen an ad on Snapchat looking for people to give out their bank account details, seeing it as a “way of making a few quid”.

“He was gullible,” Det Gda Jennings said.

O'Rourke met a man in Tallaght and gave him his bank card. He was able to continue accessing money in his account using the tap function on his phone, the court heard.

Det Gda Jennings said gardaí are aware of criminal gangs in the Tallaght, Blanchardstown and Coolock areas of Dublin who are carrying out such money laundering operations.

John Griffin BL, defending, said his client had not come to the attention of gardaí either before or after this incident.

The court heard O'Rourke did not make any money out of the operation and the €50,000 was returned in full to the company.

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