Property investor jailed for six years

By Sarah-Jane Murphy

A former property investor who was “robbing Peter to pay Paul” during a series of thefts and fraudulent schemes which netted him almost €50,000 has been jailed for six years.

Jonathan Chubb (38) of Keeper Road, Drimnagh, pleaded guilty to 34 counts of theft, two of providing a false reference, four of deception, six of possession of a forged driving licence and one count of money-laundering on dates between March 2013 and July 2015.

Dublin Criminal Courts of Justice 2 October 2016

On Friday Judge Karen O’Connor at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court said Chubb’s crimes were very disturbing and had caused significant upset and stress to many people.

“Greed and dishonesty overcame him and attracted him to a lifestyle he couldn’t afford,” she said.

At a previous hearing, Garda Nathan McKenna told Ger Small BL, prosecuting, that Chubb stole deposits from 11 people, who believed he was the landlord of an apartment for rent at Oblate View, Tyrconnell Road, Dublin.

The court heard that many of the people Chubb stole from had young children and babies.

Gda McKenna said they were stressed, distraught and scared when they arrived to move into the property and found “maybe fifteen people who had turned up to do the same thing”.

He told Ms Small that one of the injured parties suspected something was wrong after handing over a €900 deposit to Chubb, so she phoned him and asked for her money back.

After he reassured her, she apologised for doubting him, gave him another €2,000 and a box of chocolates by way of apology, the court heard.

Another of Chubb’s victims told gardai the defendant had handed him a key to the apartment and told him the property needed a few repairs and said he could move in the following week.

This man took a photo of Chubb, who was using the alias Darren Hartigan, and later gave it to gardai.

Garda McKenna said one woman, with no family or support in Dublin, found herself and her eight-year-old daughter homeless as a consequence of Chubb’s fraud.

In another fraudulent scheme, Chubb submitted standing order mandates to banks, containing details gathered from clients he met when working in the property management industry.

A third series of offences occurred while Chubb was working with currency trading software company, “Wisefx” in 2015, the court heard.

He gave customers his own personal bank details and instructed them to lodge the money to that account, netting €20,500.

The court also heard that Chubb stole four iPhone 5s worth €2,316 from Three Ireland on dates in 2017 after he ordered them in the name of a company and did not pay for them.

Michael Bowman SC, defending, said Chubb had been “robbing Peter to pay Paul”.

James B Dwyer BL, also defending, said that his client had paid over all monies owed to all those caught up in his schemes.

Chubb has 27 previous convictions, including 12 for theft and fraud offences, and 16 for road traffic offences.

Judge O’Connor said Chubb’s offending was extremely premeditated in nature, involving multiple victims over a long period of time.

She said it was particularly disturbing that he was aware that one woman he took a rental deposit from was living in a woman’s refuge, yet he stole her money anyway, after having spoken to her social worker.

The judge said many victims of Chubb’s property rental scam had to save and borrow for their deposit.

“They lost not just their money but the prospect of a home,” the judge said.

She said she had a litany of examples of Chubb’s behaviour of obtaining people’s personal data by deception.

Judge O’Connor gave Chubb credit for his guilty plea, saying it had avoided complex and lengthy trials.

She noted a psychological report said he started out life with potential and had a difficult upbringing as his father was absent from the home.

However, she said many of his crimes were committed while on bail and he did not avail of the chance given to him by the courts.

She said she had taken into consideration the fact that all injured parties had been reimbursed completely by Chubb.

“I hope he will learn from this and I hope I will not see him again,” she said.

She sentenced him to seven-and-a-half years imprisonment with the final 18 months suspended.

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