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Payment scam Student claims she was under duress when she allowed bank account be used by scammer

Sinead Amadi claimed that a male whom she went on several dates with took explicit photos of her and threatened to post them online

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Sinead Amadi

Sinead Amadi

Sinead Amadi

A ‘promising’ Third Level student who allowed her bank account to be used for the transfer of crime proceeds from an invoice payment scam claimed she was put under duress by a man who threatened to expose explicit photographs of her.

Sinead Amadi (20), who is studying Food Science in DCU, played no part in the crime other than providing her bank account details and withdrawing the money, Swords District Court heard.

The defendant, of Cardy Rock Drive in Balbriggan, Co Dublin pleaded guilty to money laundering of €6,323 on dates between 17- 19 December 2019 knowing the money was proceeds of crime.

She has no previous convictions.

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Sinead Amadi

Sinead Amadi

Sinead Amadi

 

Sergeant Patricia McGarrity told Judge Cephas Power that the HR department at Maynooth University received an email purporting to be from a staff member on December 3, 2019. The email stated that the staff member’s wage was to be paid into a Bank of Ireland bank account in Swords.

However, on January 7, 2020 it was discovered the email was not sent by the college staff member who had now become a victim of invoice redirection fraud.

The bank account was held in the name of the defendant and the €6,323 was paid into her account.

The defendant then made two withdrawals on the same day of €3,400 and €3,000.

When gardai interviewed her, she claimed that a male whom she went on several dates with took explicit photos of her and threatened to post them online.

No record of the male was found by gardai.

“She played no part in the crime other than providing her bank account and withdrawing the money,” said Sgt McGarrity.

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Defence barrister Annette Kealy said the defendant “was put in an awful position as he threatened to expose the explicit photos of her.”

“She was extremely distressed and succumbed to the threats. She didn’t think carefully about why he wanted her bank account details,” said Ms Kealy.

“She made a huge mistake and apologises to the injured party,” Ms Kealy said, adding the defendant has €1,000 with her as compensation.

Judge Cephas Power noted the €6,323 was not recovered but also noted the defendant was not the mastermind behind the act.

“The reality is she is a promising student who was under significant duress and I am satisfied she won’t find herself in a similar position again,” Judge Power said and applied Section 1.1 of the Probation Act.

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