Isabel Hayes and Declan Brennan
A serial conman who pretended he was making a documentary on sick children for RTE before conning an electronics company out of €13,000 has been sentenced to 15 months in jail.
Patrick Sheedy (53) also conned an educational supplies company out of just under €10,000 by pretending to be from the Department of Education, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.
Sentencing Sheedy, Judge Martin Nolan said he wasn’t sure that Sheedy wouldn’t continue conning people when he got out of prison but he said he couldn’t lock him up forever. Sheedy has 97 previous convictions, of which about 70 are for fraud offences, the court heard.
He is already serving a sentence imposed at Limerick Circuit Court in October 2020 and he was on bail for those offences when he carried out the crimes before court on Monday.
Sheedy, of Cliona Park, Moyross, Co Limerick pleaded guilty to six counts of deception at an address in Dublin on dates between January and March 2020. He also pleaded guilty to four counts of theft at locations in Dublin between August and September 2020.
Judge Nolan said that Sheedy had an ability to take advantage of the trusting nature of other parties and had been doing it for quite a long time.
"He is intelligent and persuasive. It seems he has the conman’s ability. Up to now he has been incredibly successful in deceiving people. The question is, can he change his ways? He cons people, can he stop?”
The judge said he wasn't sure that Sheedy would not continue to con people after he gets out of prison.
“Jurisprudence in this country does not recognise preventative detention. I can't put him in jail for the rest of his life on the basis that I think he’s going to be a conman forever,” Judge Nolan said.
He noted that Sheedy's lawyers have told the court he has a gambling addiction and that he is doing well in prison and making use of the services provided to prisoners.
The judge imposed concurrent prison terms of 15 months which are to run consecutive to the termination of the sentence he is currently serving.
Sergeant Colin Sullivan told the court that Sheedy contacted an electronics company in January 2020 and told them he was a documentary creator who had been commissioned to make a documentary on sick children for RTE. He gave them a fake name.
Sheedy said one of the children had an advanced brain injury as a result of being born premature and that she required the use of an ipad to help her in her day-to-day activities. He said he would interview the managing director as part of the documentary. The electronics company agreed to supply Sheedy with an ipad for this use.
Sheedy also placed an order for 15 mobile phones with a value of €12,460. When he failed to pay, the company contacted RTE and discovered no such documentary had been commissioned and Sheedy had not been contracted by them
Between the phones and the ipad, the company was at a loss of €13,539, the court heard.
Some months later, Sheedy contacted an educational supplies company pretending he was from the Department of Education. He placed an order for 12 mobile phones which was fulfilled but never paid for. The company was at a loss of €9,801, the court heard.
Around the same time, Sheedy contacted a mobile phone company pretending he worked for BMW. He ordered five iphones with a value of €4,200 and again never paid for them.
None of the companies involved recovered any money, with Sheedy selling the electronic goods for cash, the court heard. Sgt Sullivan said Sheedy lived with his elderly mother and had a gambling addiction.