NewsCrime Desk

Rogue trader linked to global gang scammed Raheny pensioner for €3k roof repairs

John McCarthy Jnr
John McCarthy Jnr

A YOUNG rogue trader convicted of ripping off an 84-year-old woman is part of a black market network that spans the globe.

John McCarthy Jnr, who was found guilty of scam­ming €3,000 from the fright­ened elderly lady, is linked to a gang deported from Australia last year and has also worked in Sweden.

McCarthy had called to the woman's door offering to clean moss from a roof for €120 but ended up claiming €4,000 worth of repairs were needed.

He even drove the woman to Raheny Post Office to take out the cash and disappeared claiming he was going to a builders' supplier.

Garda checks later found the company he claimed to work for – AA Advanced Roofing and Gutter Contracts – was not registered.

Conman: McCarthy Jnr

McCarthy, with an address in Newbridge, Co Kildare, is a part of a group of rogue traveller traders based in the town with connections in the UK, United States, Australia and continental Europe.

Last year, the Sunday World revealed how a group of rogue traders from the Irish traveller community were involved in similar scams in Perth.

John Jason O'Brien, Thomas Kiely and Desmond O'Reilly were all convicted of tricking people, some aged in their 90s, into believing they needed roof repairs carried out.

Tommy Kiely and John O'Brien

The men first climbed onto roofs and damaged them, and then offered to fix them.

Like McCarthy, they even drove some of the victims to the bank to withdraw money.

Aussie cops seized $65,000 in cash when they raided the car­avan site where the three men were living.

District Court judge Laurie Levy said the scam the three men were convicted of was a "sophis­ticated scheme to defraud and target elderly people".

Roofing scam: Kiely

O'Brien was sentenced to 13 months in jail, while Kiely and O'Reilly both received eight-month sentences.

McCarthy Jnr (21), was jailed this week for six months, after plead­ing not guilty to stealing cash from his victim on November 3, 2014.

The woman said in her victim impact statement that she is now "afraid to answer her door and locks herself in her house".

She added: "I feel like I am in prison, at night I’m afraid."

Victim: Kathleen Byrne

The trial judge said that a probation report showed Mc­Carthy had little empathy.

During his trial at Dublin District Court, 84-year-old Kathleen Byrne told how she felt intimidated when she was brought to Raheny Post office to withdraw cash.

She recalled how the scam began when "two well dressed lads" ar­rived and she thought they were "good fel­lahs".

They offered to clean her roof for €120 and she got advice from her neighbour Ciaran Coates who told her it seemed like a good deal.

After about 20 minutes, the defendant came and told her "the whole roof is broke, you can see the boards and the felt is gone".

At first she was quoted €2,000, then the price went up to €3,000 and then €4,000 to replace the roof. She said she could not afford that, but McCarthy said he would drive her into Raheny to get cash.

Ms Byrne said they returned to her house where the men said the work was done, "but it was not done, I looked behind me and they were gone".

She said she had been confused and upset and intimidated.

Neighbour Ciaran Coates told how when he returned to check on things, he heard that the job had changed and told her that didn't sound right.

He then called the gardai when two foreign men who had been left working on the roof were unable to answer his questions.

A garda later rang and Mc­Carthy Jnr was also told not to return to Ms Byrne's home and he returned the cash when he met the garda to make a voluntary statement some days later.