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some gaul Serial con man told tales of woe to swindle almost €150,000 from victims

McGauley pleaded guilty to five counts of deception


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A serial conman who fabricated tales of woe to dupe almost €150,000 from several individuals had “twisted the knife” by playing with the emotions on his victims, a senior judge said today.

Ms Justice Una Ní Raifeartaigh was commenting after details of offences committed by Michael McGauley were disclosed to the Court of Appeal.

In October 20202, at Monaghan Circuit Criminal Court, McGauley (48) had pleaded guilty to five counts of deception and theft between February 2016 and October 2018.

He was sentenced to three years and nine months’ imprisonment for each charge, with Judge John Alymer ordering the sentences to run concurrently.

The judge also agreed to suspend the final nine months of each term if McGauley entered a bond to keep the peace for 15 months, remain under the supervision of the probation service, and abstain from gambling and alcohol.

Today, the Court of Appeal was told today that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was appealing McGauley’s overall sentence on the grounds that it was unduly lenient.

Frank Martin BL, for the DPP, told the court that McGauley, formerly of Highfield, Carrickmacross, but now a prisoner at Midlands Prison, had pocketed €149,600 from his deceptions.

Several sums had been either stolen or obtained from his victims by deception, Mr Martin continued, and had ranged from €800 to tens of thousands of euro.

Mr Martin said the types of frauds carried out by the respondent were “many and varied” and that “very little if anything” of the money had been repaid, adding that the failure to order consecutive sentences “amounted to an error in principle by the trial judge”.

Kenneth Connolly BL, for McGauley, urged the court to “look at the person, not just the crime”.

Mr Connolly said his client had suffered from a “very significant” gambling addiction but had been “clean” for over two years now.

“The person in this case was ill,” he added.

On hearing submissions, Ms Justice Ní Raifeartaigh, who was sitting with Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy, presiding, and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, asked: “Where is the connection between being a gambling addict and lying to victims in such a hurtful way?”

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She said McGauley had played on the “heart strings of his victims” and that “there did seem to be an extra twist of the knife in the manner in which the offences were carried out”.

The case was adjourned.

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