| 4.9°C Dublin

‘Middle man’ in €6m worldwide invoice fraud went on €27,000 ‘spending spree’ buying designer goods, court told

Judge Alan Mitchell refused to grant him bail and remanded him in custody when he appeared before Dublin District Court today.


Stock image

Stock image

Stock image

A FATHER-of-one has been accused of acting as a “middle man” in a €6m worldwide invoice fraud and money laundering conspiracy.

Francis Ogbuefi (37), who was allegedly linked to fraudulent transactions through an Irish bank account, was arrested after gardaí raided his Dublin home and seized luxury and designer goods bought in a €27,000 “spending spree”.

Judge Alan Mitchell refused to grant him bail and remanded him in custody when he appeared before Dublin District Court today.

Mr Ogbuefi of Clonard Road, Crumlin, is charged with two counts of money laundering and one of conspiracy.

Objecting to bail, Detective Garda Stephen Kelly said the two money laundering offences were alleged to have happened on dates between December 7 and 31 last.

They related to an invoice redirect fraud and involved an Ulster Bank account in Monaghan, he said, with sums of €19,476 and €36,429 allegedly transferred to that account.

The conspiracy charge relates to dates between March 5, 2018, and December 31, 2020.

The accused was allegedly linked to the offences through information on a phone that was seized in a search of his home. It was alleged that during the search, Mr Ogbuefi attempted to conceal the phone by placing it under dishes in the sink.

It was alleged that withdrawals were made from the account and high-end luxury items including designer clothing and electronics were bought in a “spending spree”.

The accused was allegedly seen on CCTV using the bank card and a large amount of goods were found in his home, including a 55-inch TV mounted on the wall facing the accused’s bed, Det Gda Kelly said.

It was alleged the accused was involved in a worldwide fraud and money laundering conspiracy operating in a "multitude" of countries throughout Europe, North and Central America, Africa and the Middle and Far East, and totalling €6.17m, the garda said.

The accused was allegedly a “middle man” who received €800,000, which was a 20pc share of the Irish transfers.

Det Gda Kelly said Mr Ogbuefi only came to Ireland from Nigeria in 2018 to commit these alleged offences. The garda believed the accused would not attend court if granted bail.

Applying for bail, defence solicitor Jenny McGeever said the accused was presumed innocent. He strongly denied ownership or use of the phone in question and at no time was referred to by name in messages on it, she said.

When he was asked if it was him on the CCTV, he said no. The accused was on Pandemic Unemployment Payment had only €600 in his bank account and was not a man of means, Ms McGeever said.

Judge Mitchell refused bail and remanded Mr Ogbuefi in custody, to appear in Cloverhill District Court on February 12.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Online Editors