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'twisted the knife' Serial conman who swindled victims out of €150,000 has jail term increased

Michael McGauley's three-year term was increased to five years

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The Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal

A serial conman who, according to a senior judge, had “twisted the knife” into his victims when he duped them out of almost €150,000 has had his jail sentence increased after a successful appeal by the State.

Michael McGauley (49) was jailed for three years after pleading guilty at Monaghan Circuit Criminal Court to five counts of deception and theft between February 2016 and October 2018, with Judge John Alymer ordering the sentences to run concurrently.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) later appealed the sentence handed down in October 2020 on the grounds that it was unduly lenient.

The DPP also argued the sentences should have run consecutively.

One of McGauley’s victims was scammed out of €43,000 between February 2016 and November 2016.

Another group of five victims lost €45,000 over the same period, while one man was conned out of almost €20,000 between December 2016 and April 2017.

Other victims lost amounts ranging from several hundred to several thousand euro to the con man.

Today, at the Court of the Appeal, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy, presiding, agreed with the DPP and said that Judge Alymer had erred by not imposing consecutive sentences on McGauley.

Quashing the original three-year term, Mr Justice McCarthy, sitting with Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy and Ms Justice Úna Ní Raifeartaigh ordered that McGauley, who has been on temporary release from prison since last December, must now serve a total of five years behind bars.

Responding to the judgment, Mr Kenneth Connolly BL, for McGauley, asked if his client could be given one month to get his affairs in order before the new sentence was activated.

He said his client was a married man who had been working part-time since his release from jail at the end of last year and was required to give his employer notice.

Mr Justice McCarthy refused the application, however, saying the length of time requested was “excessive” and ordered that McGauley surrender himself to the prison authorities on February 16 – the date on which the respondent was due to report to Mountjoy as part of his temporary release arrangement.

Earlier, Mr Connolly told the court that he wanted to stress in the “strongest possible terms” that his client had been “working diligently” while incarcerated to achieve his release and it was his “fervent wish” to remain at liberty.

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