CAB seeks possession of Limerick property allegedly owned by convicted brothel keeper

Aodhan O'Faolain

Reporter:

Aodhan O'Faolain

The High Court has reserved judgment in an application by CAB

The High Court has reserved judgment in an application by CAB

THE High Court has reserved judgment in an application by CAB to deem a Limerick apartment allegedly owned by a convicted brothel keeper as the proceeds of crime.  

The application has been opposed by Brazilian born Aulicete Walsh and her son Maicon Morelli.

The exact location of the apartment cannot be identified for legal reasons.

In 2017 Mrs Walsh was convicted of brothel keeping in Ennis and Limerick in May 2015, and was given an eight-month prison sentence.

Ms Walsh, aged 55 years with an address at Clarina, Co Limerick, was previously convicted of brothel keeping and fined €750 in 2012 at Newcastle West District Court.

The apartment in question was purchased by a bank draft in 2014 for approximately €34,000. 

CAB, arising out of a Garda investigation into brothel keeping, obtained orders freezing the property.

It says the property was purchased with the proceeds of crime and seeks orders under Section 3 of the 1996 Proceeds of Crime Act.

Both mother and son oppose CAB’s application. In the alternative, they argue that just over €20,000 used to buy the apartment came from legitimate income.

If the property, which the court heard has increased in value, is sold by CAB they argue that they should receive a percentage of the proceeds of that sale.

Following the conclusion of submissions Ms Justice Carmel Stewart said she was reserving her decision and will deliver judgment at a later date.

The court heard Mrs Walsh claims she put €10,000 she earned doing jobs such as house cleaning, minding children, working in butchers, bakers, a clinic and restaurants in Co Galway, for which she was paid in cash.

The court heard that Mrs Walsh came to Ireland from Brazil in 2006. and subsequently married an Irish man.

Since completing her sentence she is on social welfare and is seeking work.

Mr Morelli says that he was given money by his late father in Brazil which he brought to Ireland and put towards the purchase of the apartment.

He also claims that he put money, which he earned from doing various jobs in Ireland, he saved himself was also used to acquire the property.

In a sworn statement Mr Morelli, who currently resides in Brazil, said he has never been involved in any serious criminality, and had nothing to do with his mother’s activities that resulted in her convictions. 

David Dodd, BL for CAB, said the mother and son’s claims where the money came from was not backed up with any documentary evidence and their explanations were inconsistent.

She had been convicted of brothel keeping, and the banking evidence was that monies used to acquire the property came from an account of Mrs Walsh's where several cash lodgements had been made into.  

She had no known source of income, and little details had been given about the sources of what she claimed was her legitimate income. 

Mrs Walsh who had driven a car worth €15,000 had no known income and had not made any returns with revenue, counsel added.

Counsel said that Mrs Walsh was a person who in interviews with the Gardai concerning her brothel keeping had described the 19 and 21-year-old Romanian woman who worked as prostitutes in the apartments as “being stupid”. 

When Mrs Walsh was before the District Court the Gardai said their investigation revealed she would rent properties for €370 to €650 a month and was charging €600 to €700 a week to the prostitutes using it.

Mrs Walsh, who claims to have worked as a prostitute in her teens and got back into it due to her husband's lavish spending, also said the prostitutes were not present in the properties for every week they were rented out.