A man who allowed his bank account to be used in an accommodation fraud scam has been ordered to pay €1,000 compensation to his victim.
Percy Otoo appeared at Letterkenny District Court where he pleaded guilty to two separate charges under the Theft and Fraud Offences Act.
The court was told that the charges arose of a fake advert which was posted on the daft.ie for an accommodation which did not exist.
A person responded to the advert and sent two separate deposits of €300 and €700 to secure the accommodation on August 12th, 2020 and also on August 17th, 2020.
The payments were made by Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) but it soon became apparent that the advertised accommodation was not real.
A Garda investigation was launched and the 26-year-old accused was arrested.
When interviewed Otoo, with an address at Rockfield Manor in Dundalk, Co Louth, made full admissions.
He was charged that on August 12th, 2020, he did engage in converting, transferring, handling, acquiring property that is the proceeds of a criminal conduct, to wit €300 being money credited to AIB Bank Account number XXXXXXXX in the name of Percy Otoo while knowing or being reckless as to whether or not that the said property was the proceeds of criminal conduct.
He was also charged that on August 12th, 2020, he did engage in converting, transferring, handling, acquiring property that is the proceeds of a criminal conduct, to wit €700 being money credited to AIB Bank Account number XXXXXXXX in the name of Percy Otoo while knowing or being reckless as to whether or not that the said property was the proceeds of criminal conduct.
His barrister, Mr Ciaran O’Rourke BL, told the court that Otoo had made no financial benefit from his involvement in the incident saying he had been asked by a third party if his bank account could be used.
Mr O’Rourke said his client, a father-of-two who works in retail, now admits that his actions were reckless.
He also suggested that his client had been the subject of an assault and that he also feels he is the subject of some threats as a result of his involvement in the incident.
The court was told that the accused man also has a medical history and that he suffered a brain tumour at the age of just 11 which resulted in poor memory and concentration.
However, Mr Rourke said his client said he did not want to use this as an excuse for his actions.
“He is not a criminal but a naive and trusting man,” added his barrister saying his client had no previous convictions.
A probation report on Otoo said that he has cooperated fully, that he had expressed remorse and that he is at a low risk of reoffending.
Judge Éiteáin Cunningham said the report was indeed positive and that Otoo had not come to Garda attention since.
She directed a compensation order for a sum of €1,000 already handed into the court by Otoo to be paid to the injured party and took all other charges into consideration.