Kildare printer jailed for six years for counterfeit note production

Richard Molloy
Richard Molloy

A Kildare printer who was “working with the IRA” while running a sophisticated counterfeit banknote operation has been jailed for six years.

Richard Molloy (44) was caught selling €20,000 in counterfeit bills to an IRA man in exchange for €2,200. A follow-up search of his printing operation by the Special Detective Unit uncovered over €2 million in fake banknotes and the equipment for their production.

Molloy of Preston Heights, Kilmeague, Naas, Co Kildare pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of equipment for the production of counterfeit notes at Barstown Commercial Park, Dunboyne, Co Meath on February 2, 2014.

The court heard that Molloy knew he was working with the IRA and that this was a fully fledged counterfeit operation.

Judge Patricia Ryan said that an operation like this would likely have consequences to the economy but said she was not taking this into consideration as there was no evidence of any loss to the State in this instance.

The court heard Molloy started counterfeiting after the economic downturn impacted his printing business. Gardaí accepted he “worked with the IRA” but “had no direct involvement with the organisation”.

Detective Superintendent Peter Maguire told prosecution counsel Colm O'Briain BL that the Special Detective Unit were conducting an intelligence lead operation against the IRA last year and were monitoring two men as they drove to Clarke's Pub in Phibsboro, Dublin.

One man stayed in the car with the engine running while the other went in and sat at the bar. Molloy then sat beside him and left a package on a stool which the other man picked up. This contained two bundles of counterfeit €50 notes worth a total of €20,000.

Molloy picked up another package from under a newspaper and left. This package contained €2,200 in genuine cash. Gardaí moved in as the unidentified man returned to the car.

They arrested Molloy and found keys to a lock-up in Dunboyne on him. A search of this unit revealed two industrial printers and assorted printing materials. They also found €189,000 of complete counterfeit notes and €2 million of notes in an unfinished state.

Det Super Maguire said the notes brought to the pub were very good quality as were some of the notes in the lock-up.

Molloy was originally charged with membership of an illegal organisation before being recharged with assisting an illegal organisation. He eventually pleaded guilty to possession of counterfeiting tools.

The detective presented examples of the fake €50 notes in court. The completed specimens were in bundles while others were in “sheets” which had not been guillotined yet.

Maguire ran a printing business from the unit which allowed him to build up the expertise and equipment to counterfeit the notes.

David Staunton BL, defending, said Molloy has a young child and a partner who was currently very ill. He said he had a drink problem and had “made some very poor decisions in life.”

Counsel asked Judge Ryan to consider the pressure Molloy was under at the time. He was he was in financial trouble because of the impact of the downturn on his business.

Mr Staunton asked the judge to consider suspending part of the sentence in light of Molloy's sick partner and the fact that jailing him would leave no one to care for their child. Judge Ryan said she had carefully considered the matter and would not suspend any of the prison term.

By Conor Gallagher and Declan Brennan