‘You are getting your first and last chance’ Judge tells man

By Fiona Ferguson

A Malawian man charged with money laundering who told gardai he found €17,000 in his bank account when checking to see if his wages had been paid has avoided a jail term.

John Carlos (32) used some of the money to pay his college fees before transferring €12,000 to a savings account. He then contacted the bank to alert them to the €17,000 and the transfer he had made.

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Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard the money had been directed to his account as a result of a fraudulent email sent to an English company. Gardai do not know who sent the email or the relationship between that person and Carlos.

Carlos, of Tallaght Cross West, Tallaght pleaded guilty to the possession of €17,000, the proceeds of criminal conduct, deposited in Ulster Bank, College Green on October 6, 2017. He has no previous convictions.

Detective Garda Sonya Skelly told Fionnuala Sullivan BL, prosecuting, that an English company wishing to make a purchase of bulbs from a supplier in Holland in 2017 had received a fraudulent email asking that the payment be directed to an account later identified as Carlos’s.

She said that on October 6, 2017 the money was transferred and immediately €4,900 was withdrawn and a further €12,000 was transferred to a second account belonging to Carlos.

Ms O’Sullivan told the court that “somewhat unusually”, Carlos then contacted Ulster Bank and alerted them to the €17,000 and the transfer he had made. The bank then froze the remaining €11,200.

Carlos met with gardai by appointment and was interviewed. He accepted the bank account was his and that €17,000 had been transferred into it. He said he did not know where the money came from.

He said he withdrew €4,900 as he saw an opportunity to pay his college fees. He then transferred €12,000 to his “savings account.” Gardai asked him if her understood taking money which did not belong to him was an offence, he replied that he did.

Garda Skelly agreed with Kieran Kelly BL, defending, that Carlos had made a suggestion of repaying the money.

Mr Kelly told the court his client’s instructions were that he had gone to his bank account and saw the money there. He said he did not know the provenance of the money.

Judge Martin Nolan asked Mr Kelly why he should not jail his client since he “obviously knows” how the money ended up in his account.

Mr Kelly said the court would be aware that people are often satisfied to confess to their own part in an offence but are not always willing to point the finger elsewhere.

Judge Nolan in sentencing said there were “probably other matters at play” in relation to Carlos not explaining how the money appeared. He noted Carlos had come to Ireland to try and make a go of life, had no previous convictions and has not re-offended in the three years since.

He took into account Carlos’s guilty plea, his co-operation with gardai and the probability that he will not re-offend. He noted Carlos was working and contributing to the country.

Judge Nolan imposed a two year suspended sentence and told Carlos: “You are getting your first and last chance.” 

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