A young man who allowed criminals to access his bank account and put more than €30,000 through it has avoided going to jail.
Gary Mirren appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court where he pleaded guilty to 12 counts of money laundering.
Eleven charges relate to €30,914.59 being lodged to Mirren’s AIB account in June, 2019 while the other charge related to the transfer of €10,780 from his account to another person.
The now 25-year-old pleaded guilty to the charges after a AIB fraud investigators noticed unusual activity on his account.
Gardai were informed and a full investigation into the activities of Mirren’s bank accounts were launched.
Detective Garda Peter Cullen outlined the case to the court saying a third party had been using Mirren’s bank card.
This followed a chance meeting with an old school friend whom he had played football with who offered Mirren the chance to earn some extra money.
Mirren’s friend said it was nothing illegal but that he needed access to his bank account.
He agreed and some hours later he noticed that €30,000 was in his account and he became frightened.
He called his former school friend who told him to relax, that it was a glitch and to keep his head down.
Mirren called his friend a couple of days later and said he was frightened but his friend said that it was too late to go back and that these people involved would be angry if they tried to back out.
The pair then traveled to Dublin where they met a third man whom Mirren’s friend said was above him.
Later that day Mirren went to the pub and he friend became cross with him as he feared he may jeopardise their entire plan.
The accused said he then had to go into a branch of AIB in Dublin and withdraw the funds and he would receive €3,500
The pair stayed in a hotel in the capital that night.
Once AIB officials became suspicious of Mirren’s account dealings, Gardai called to his address at Leck Cottages in Letterkenny on January 4th, 2021 but his grandmother said he was not there and he later presented himself to Gardai at Letterkenny station where he made full admissions.
His barrister, Ms Fiona Crawford, said her client was involved in a “party scene” in Letterkenny at the time and his account was €600 overdrawn.
She said he was using drugs and drink at an early age and got involved with the wrong people.
“He found himself in a matter where he allowed his bank details and ATM card be used by other individuals,” she added.
Mirren had no previous convictions before he was arrested by Gardai for these offences.
She added that her client was a hard worker and had held down two jobs before Christmas – one in a local bar and another in a supermarket where he was trusted with money.
He was also in a relationship with a young woman for the past three years and his partner was in court to support him.
The court was also told that a Probation Report showed he was a low risk of reoffending and further intervention was not needed by the services.
Judge John Aylmer said that before mitigation this was a serious offence which merited a jail sentence of 18 months.
He added that while he accepted the accused was entering the transaction for gain, he never knew the amount of gain and described his offending as “reckless.”
“He does appear as a witless young man who was taken advantage of by serious criminals and will suffer onerous consequences as a result of the conviction.”
He also noted that Mirren was cooperative with Gardai, had made full admissions from an early stage, was remorseful and had no previous convictions.
HIs hard work ethic was also noted with the Judge remarking that he had been holding down two jobs.
He sentenced him to 12 months in prison but ordered that he complete 240 hours of community service in lieu of the sentence.