Judge Martin Nolan was speaking at the sentence hearing of Valentin Radu (34) for money laundering in relation to €1,500 withdrawn from a bank account in November 2020.
The larger sum had been transferred to the bank account, which belonged to a person known to Radu, earlier that day. He said he had withdrawn the money for the account holder as the man did not have a face mask. He denied being involved in a criminal organisation.
Defence counsel said Radu had been taken advantage of and was more victim than perpetrator.
Judge Nolan said the State and the court may have their suspicions but he was confined by the plea as entered. He imposed a suspended sentence of two and a half years.
Radu, of Warrenstown Place, Blanchardstown, pleaded guilty to money laundering in relation to €1,500 at AIB Clondalkin on November 11, 2020. He has one previous road traffic conviction,
Garda Ciaran Ronan told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that a solicitor had been the victim of an email interception fraud and had mistakenly transferred the sum of €743,000 involved in this case to the wrong AIB bank account.
Radu was not the account holder of this bank account but gardai believe he was in control of the account due to transactions such as tolls and mobile top-ups linked to him.
The sum of €743,000 was transferred on November 11, 2020 and there were a number of transactions including a €1,500 withdrawal, two €250 withdrawals and an €89 in-store transaction. Radu was identified as the person making the withdrawals.
All the money in relation to the €743,000 was recovered, except for €2,100.
Gardai arrested Radu and he denied any knowledge of the fraudulent emails sent to the solicitors. He admitted knowing the owner of the bank account and explained his wages were paid into this account, as he had not intended staying in Ireland
He said he had made the withdrawals from the bank account for the other man as he had a face mask and his friend did not. He gave the money to his friend who had met up with another individual. He said he knew nothing about the €743,000 but admitted using the bank card.
He said he had no online access to the bank account so did not know how much was in it.
Radu denied being a member of a criminal organisation.
Gda Ronan agreed with Luigi Rea BL, defending, that the other man has “gone” and has not been charged with anything. He did not accept the other man was “more sinister and clever.”
Judge Nolan put it to Mr Rea that he must infer gardai believed Radu was involved in trying to steal €700,000.
Mr Rea said his client had been “totally out of his depth” and had not benefitted.
Mr Rea said Radu was a tiny cog in very large wheel. He said Radu had involved himself in going up to cash machines without a disguise, which was not the behaviour of someone involved in a large criminal gang. He said the gardai were well meaning but wrong in their belief.
Mr Rea submitted Radu was more victim than perpetrator after coming into contact with people more cunning than himself. He said Radu had been taken advantage of by the other person.