sentenced later | 

Young woman caught with luxury items, high-end car and €100k up for money laundering

Kathleen McDonagh had Chanel handbags, Louis Vuitton bags, belts and shoes; Christian Louboutin shoes and two diamond rings. A high-end vehicle bought with €25,750 in cash was also seized

Kathleen McDonagh

Sonya McLean

A young woman who was caught with luxury items, a high-end car and almost €100,000 in various accounts will be sentenced later for money laundering.

Kathleen McDonagh (21) had €23,715 worth of luxury items including two Chanel handbags, Louis Vuitton bags, belts and shoes; Christian Louboutin shoes and two diamond rings when gardaí secured a warrant to first search her home in January 2020.

A high-end vehicle, which had been bought in a Galway dealership with €25,750 in cash in July 2019 was also seized at the time.

Garda Gary Farrell told Aideen Collard BL, prosecuting, that McDonagh’s home was searched as part of a wider garda investigation and later accepted that she was not the target of that investigation.

McDonagh had been in a relationship with a man who was serving time in prison for burglary at the time. He is now in Scotland and is the subject of a European Arrest Warrant.

During the searches of McDonagh’s home on dates in January 2020 and May 2020, gardaí also found details relating to an AIB bank account, a post office account and a credit union account in her name.

Further investigation of these accounts revealed that deposits totaling €98,828.88 had been lodged in them between March 2018 and December 2019.

McDonagh of Whitechurch Avenue Rathfarnham, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal to three counts of money laundering on dates between March 2019 and January 2020. Two further charges of money laundering were taken into account. She has no previous convictions.

Garnet Orange SC, defending, submitted to the court that his client did not have a role in the primary offence, but due to her “apparent good character” she was able to establish the accounts required to store and dispose of the criminal proceeds of those primary offences.

Counsel asked the court to accept that McDonagh was effectively “a channel”.

Kathleen McDonagh

Judge Melanie Greally said she was not sure about McDonagh’s culpability in that sense adding that “she was a direct beneficiary” as the designer goods and car were being used by her.

She said it was a case that warranted assessment from the Probation Service before she adjourned the sentence to May 4, next to allow for that assessment to take place. McDonagh was remanded on bail until that date.

Gda Farrell told Ms Collard that there was no evidence to support how the money had been earned and McDonagh’s only source of income at the time was loan parent’s allowance.

Gda Farrell agreed with Mr Orange that his client was 17, 18 and 19 years old during the period of time covered by the charges.

He accepted that she was not the person who committed the primary offences nor she was target of the initial investigation, but was later identified as a person who had “unexplained assets”.

Gda Farrell further accepted that McDonagh’s father didn’t approve of her relationship with her partner at the time and she had left the family home against his will to live with the man when she was 16 years old.

The garda agreed that McDonagh’s former partner was someone who was involved in criminal activity.

McDonagh is now back living with her parents and it was accepted by Gda Farrell that her father is a decent upstanding man who takes a very hands-on role as to how his daughter has dealt with these offences.

Mr Orange said his client is the mother of a young child and has “a stable, reliable family network”.

“She found herself in possession of vast amounts of money. She used that money to buy this property, but nevertheless I suggest that she didn’t come in at the highest end of culpability,” counsel submitted before he added that McDonagh “got swept away by circumstances”.

He said she was not moving cash from one account to another in an attempt to conceal it as the proceeds of crime and submitted that the assets were easily found and recovered.

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