NewsInvestigations

CAB chase Brazilian granny who made fortune as vice madame

Aulicete Fatima Walsh
Aulicete Fatima Walsh

A Brazilian granny who claimed she only got involved in prostitution to pay off her Irish husband’s gambling debts is now being investigated by CAB.

Aulicete Fatima Walsh – who is set to begin a four-month jail sentence at the end of the month – was caught by Gardaí after a two-month surveillance operation into her prostitution enterprises in Ennis and Limerick.

In court, the blonde madame tried to claim she got sucked into a life of vice because she had to bankroll her trucker husband, who was overly fond of gambling.

However, it is not the first time she has come before the courts in connection with prostitution offences and CAB has now launched a probe into her wealth.

Gardaí believe Walsh made significant amounts of money subletting apartments to ‘touring’ hookers struggling with Ireland’s rocketing rents.

When confronted by the Sunday World this week, the 54-year-old madame refused to comment on the case.

“You’re always making trouble for me,” she said as she climbed back in her car with her Irish husband.

It is understood Walsh was making thousands every week from charging prostitutes sky-high weekly rent for the use of tiny apartments in the mid-west, after recruiting the vice girls on the website Escort Ireland.

CAB has been investigating the income and assets amassed by the Brazilian, who came to Ireland at the height of the Celtic Tiger.

Facebook photos show her enjoying the high life with her Limerick husband Paddy in New York two years ago.

The pair happily posed on a horse and carriage in Central Park, in front of the Statue of Liberty and the top of the Empire State building. The brothel boss is also seen posing in front of a yacht.

 

Walsh, who had previously been convicted of brothel keeping in Newcastlewest District Court in Limerick in 2012, was appealing an eight-month prison stretch imposed in March over brothel keeping in Ennis and Limerick last year.

Defending solicitor Daragh Hassett told Ennis Circuit Court this week that the granny, with an address in Clarina, Co. Limerick, had been working as a cleaner before being forced back into prostitution because of her husband’s spending sprees.

Judge Tom O’Donnell said he did not regard her as a victim and found her excuse of her husband’s spending to be in the “realms of Walter Mitty”.

However, he did order the two four-month sentences imposed consecutively to run concurrently.

Gardaí arrested Walsh last May after a two-month operation led them to an apartment at Bank Square, off Ennis’s Bindon Street.

She was seen coming and going from the one-bedroomed apartment which had a bed set up in the kitchen/living room area for prostitution.

When the apartment was raided on May 19, 2016, detectives found three females and one customer who was having sex with one of the girls. The women were aged 29, 27 and 21 and were all from Romania.

When she was arrested she was found with keys to a number of apartments, a large wad of cash and a false Portuguese driving licence. She had rented out the apartments using different names.

On May 27, another brothel was searched at 6 Crosley House, Dock Road, Limerick, where two prostitutes from Romania, were found, one aged just 19.  This property – in an area known for prostitution in the city – was just around the corner from the apartment she shares with her husband.

 

Solicitor Daragh Hassett, said she came from abject poverty and was put into prostitution as a young teenager in Brazil years before she arrived in Ireland 12 years ago.

He also said the brothel madam had to contend with the shame brought about by the high-profile case. “Everyone knows she is a prostitute,” he said.

Acting for the State, solicitor Aisling Casey said Ms Walsh was renting apartments in Ennis and Limerick in May 2015 at “exorbitant prices” to prostitutes she made contact with via the website Escort Ireland.

Walsh was renting the Ennis apartment for €370 a month and was charging €600 a week, or €2,400 a month, to the prostitutes using it, while her Limerick apartment was costing her €650 a month and she charged €700 a week, or €2,800 a month, to the prostitutes there.

Ms Walsh will commence her prison sentence on May 22.