NewsCrime Desk

Man goes on trial accused of stealing €178k in alleged pyramid scheme

Man goes on trial accused of stealing €178k in alleged pyramid scheme

A man has gone on trial accused of stealing €178,000 in an alleged pyramid scheme involving investors in a fictitious motor business.

Eamon Shield (45) is alleged to have stolen the money from 12 people by telling them he could get cars repossessed by the banks and sell them on at a significant mark up.

He told the 12 investors that he would double their money within two months, Shane Costelloe SC, prosecuting, told a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Shield of Weston Meadows, Weston Park, Lucan, Co Dublin has pleaded not guilty to 15 counts of theft and another 12 counts of making a gain for himself by deception between June 2011 and February 2012.

The trial will continue in evidence before Judge Patricia Ryan and the jury tomorrow. It is expected to run for two weeks.

Opening the trial Mr Costelloe told the jury that the State's case was that the accused was operating what is colloquially called a pyramid scheme.

He said it was at the height of the recession and the banks were repossessing cars. He said Mr Shield told potential investors that he would double their money by “flipping” the cars.

Counsel said that the 12 alleged victims entered into a contract with Mr Shield but when the two month period was up they found it difficult to contact him.

When they did get hold of him he didn't repay their investment or any profit. Instead the accused invited them to renegotiate the investment, Mr Costelloe said.

The prosecutor told the jury: “There never were any cars. There never was any scheme whereby he could go to banks to get distressed cars.

“There was no business. He was never going to repay the money”.

He said that Shield was taking sums of money from one investor and drip feeding money to other investors, telling them they would get all their money back.

He said of the €178,000 invested, €55,000 was paid back. He said none of the 12 investors got all their money back.