Cashing of stolen cheque ‘like plot from novel’ says Limerick judge

David Hurley

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David Hurley

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david.hurley@limerickleader.ie

Cashing of stolen cheque ‘like plot from novel’ says Limerick judge

Judge Tom O'Donnell likened the evidence to something from a Jeffrey Archer novel

TWO men have pleaded guilty to money laundering charges relating to the cashing of a stolen cheque worth almost €50,000.

Limerick Circuit Court has heard the cheque which was made out to Fingal County Council  was intercepted and altered and  subsequently lodged into a bank account held by Ademola Olaitan, 50 who has an address at Curragh Birin, Castletroy, Limerick.

Mr Olaitan has admitted transferring the money to another account he held at AIB O’Connell Street after it was initially lodged.

His co-accused – Olaleken Ojekunle, 37, of Wood Park, Castleconnell –  has  admitted  receiving and transferring €15,000 which was lodged into his account by Mr Olaitan.

Detective Sergeant McCafferty of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said an investigation was launched in March 2015 after a complaint was received from Ulster Bank.

He said it was subsequently established the €47,109 was lodged into an account held by Mr Olaitan on October 2, 2014 and that the monies were “dispatched at great speed” out of the account the following day.

He said various amounts of money were transferred to a number of different accounts including one in the name of Mr Ojekunle.

By the time gardai were alerted there was no money left in either account. He told John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, that both defendants are originally from Nigeria and that both cooperated when arrested and questioned.

Mr Olaitan claimed he had facilitated a property deal in London and believed he had been overpaid. He told gardai he was then instructed by another man – Mr X – to transfer the extra monies to several other accounts.

He said he did not know the identity of the account holders and did not know the €47,000 had been obtained fraudulently.

Mr Ojekunle said he was contacted by his ex-wife who informed him €15,000 would be lodged to his account and was to be used to pay debts relating to a small business which she operated in the Bruff area.

Mr O’Sullivan submitted the case was strong and there were “elements of fiction” in the explanations put forward by the defendants. Adjourning the matter to the new year, Judge Tom O’Donnell commented what happened was “more like a plot out of a Jeffrey Archer novel”.