Man involved in 'fake garage' scam avoids jail

Man involved in 'fake garage' scam avoids jail

A man who got involved in a fake garage which bought cars with forged bank drafts has been given a suspended two-year sentence for his involvement in the scam.

The prosecution accepted that James Flanagan (56) acted recklessly rather than intentionally in working for the orchestrators of the scam.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court previously heard he applied for weekend work which was advertised on by the “garage”. His job was to pick up and drop off cars for it and he would be paid between €50 and €200 each time.

Flanagan of Moatview Court, Priorswood, Coolock, Dublin pleaded guilty to production of a false instrument at Athlone Train Station, Westmeath on September 27, 2013.

Detective Garda Eamonn Kinane told prosecuting counsel Paul Carroll BL that Emmet Lyons offered a car for sale and was contacted by a man claiming to work for a garage.

Flanagan was then sent to meet Mr Lyons at Athlone train station to buy the car. He handed over a bank draft for €13,800 which later turned out to be forged.

The “garage” then advertised the car for sale again. Three days later, Flanagan was sent to Jack White's Pub to meet a woman who was interested in buying it. She paid €9,000 to him for the car.

This woman was allowed to keep the car after the scam was discovered as a court ruled she had bought it “in good faith.” Mr Lyons has suffered the full €13,800 loss and wasn't able to claim it on his insurance.

Counsel for Flanagan, Paul Greene SC, submitted that prison was not appropriate in this case. He said Flanagan had cash flow problems which had increased recently since his wife lost her job.

Counsel added that Flanagan had lost his father and brother in the last six months.

Flanagan had €1,700 for his victim as a token of remorse.

Sentencing Flanagan today, Judge Karen O'Connor handed down a suspended two-year sentence.

She noted that Flanagan had €1,700 in court for his victim as a token of remorse. She ordered he pay a further €1300 within six months.