Conman who tricked mates out of money for UFC tickets jailed

CourtsBy Sunday World
Conor McGregor in action against Diego Brandao at the UFC Fight Night event in Dublin in July 2014
Conor McGregor in action against Diego Brandao at the UFC Fight Night event in Dublin in July 2014

A IT worker who conned his colleagues and tag-rugby teammates out of nearly €8000 by telling them he could get them tickets to a Conor McGregor UFC Fight has been jailed for two years.

David Marsh (29) also conned a Limerick couple out of €76,000, by promising to get them a cheap house. He knew the couple as he was in a relationship with the woman's sister. He told them that he had bought a house at “a knock down price” in a development in Castletroy and promised them he could secure them the same deal.

The couple lodged €76,000 to Marsh's bank account on the understanding that he was going to secure the property for them through his financial advisor.

The man became suspicious after two months when documentation he had requested from Marsh was never produced. He confronted him and Marsh admitted to “squandering” the cash on an Audi, a rugby tour and a holiday to New York.

Marsh of Granite Court, Stepaside, Co Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dishonestly inducing another to transfer €76,000 into his AIB account to purchase a site at Fox Hollow, Golf Links Road, Castletroy on December 6, 2013.

He also pleaded guilty to 12 counts of dishonestly inducing another to give him various amounts of cash for various items, knowing that he couldn't provide it on dates between April and July 2014. He has no previous convictions.

The couple told the court it took them over ten years to raise the money by saving their hard earned wages and “making sacrifices”.

The following year Marsh had conned friends from his tag rugby team in Stillorgan and colleagues from his workplace out of a total of €7,785 after telling them he could get tickets to Conor McGregor's UFC Fight Night in Dublin 's O2 in July 2014.

He told others he had won a trip for six to Barbados but he didn't want to go so took cash off them to change the name on the tickets.

Marsh took €1,125 from one friend as a deposit for a flat that they were to move in together but he had never organised for the flat to be rented. He took €200 for two tickets from the same man for the UFC event.

Marsh wrote a letter of apology, read out in court, in which he apologised for taking advantage of his friends' kindness to fill “my own twisted needs”.

He said he wanted to take full responsibility for his actions and apologised for altering and destroying their plans.

“I promise to do everything I can to make things right,” Marsh said before he added he was full of self-hatred and hoped that “my actions do not destroy your faith in people”.

“I shamed myself, family and friends. I only hope in the future I can become a reformed man. I vow to make my word mean something again,” Marsh concluded.

Judge John Aylmer imposed a two year term on the house fraud and six months on the other charges. All the sentences will run concurrently

Leo Mulrooney BL, defending said his client had no money in court to compensate his victims. He said that he hoped to raise cash for the victims through the sale of an Audi which he bought with the money taken from the Limerick couple. He also had just over €7,000 which was frozen in a bank account and a credit union.

Counsel said Marsh had also recently secured a job working as a sales rep in a phone shop which he hoped would allow him to save a further €10,000 a year to offer to the various victims.

Garda Daniel Murphy told Garret Baker BL, prosecuting that after the €76,000 was lodged to Marsh's account he immediately withdrew €27,500 to buy an Audi. He then withdrew €27,000 over the course of the following two weeks.

He made immediate admissions when he was arrested by gardaí at his then rented house in Limerick. He said he had paid for a trip to New York and a rugby tour but there was only €3,767 remaining in his bank account which had since been frozen.

A victim impact report before the court said the woman's demeanour towards people had completely changed and the couple's relationship had struggled.

She said it took them over ten years to raise the money by saving their hard earned wages and “making sacrifices”. The house was to be the couple's dream home.

Gda Murphy agreed with Mr Mulrooney that his client never made an attempt to disguise his identity.

He also accepted that gardaí seized the Audi and it was still in the State's possession. It was now estimated to be worth between €15,000 and €18,000.

Garda John Burke said Marsh knew 10 of the Dublin people he scammed through Stillorgan Rugby Club and worked with two others.

Each of the people gave him money in either cash or by way of electronic transfer to his bank account for tickets to the UFC event, tickets for holidays or in the case of one man a deposit on an apartment they were to rent together. Another man gave Marsh €500 to invest in his logistics company for which he was promised a guaranteed €3,000 return.

Marsh was arrested by arrangement in September 2014 after gardaí were alerted to the fraud. No money was ever recovered and he never provided an explanation as to where the money went.

A number of victim impact reports were handed into court which outlined how hurt people were being scammed by someone they had considered a friend and whom they had trusted.