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Fraud probe Blackmail suspect quizzed by Gardai over nationwide driving license scam

The man and a woman are suspected of being the main players behind an elaborate scheme where people across the country were fraudulently obtaining driving learner permits.

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A man in his 20s was questioned for two days this week by fraud squad detectives about a nationwide driving licence scam.

The suspect, from west Dublin, was arrested earlier this year in relation to a sinister blackmail plot

The 25-year-old Polish national and a 40-year-old Romanian woman are suspected of being the main players behind an elaborate scheme where people across the country were fraudulently obtaining driving learner permits.

The permits were previously known as a provisional driving licence.

The duo who are based in the Blanchardstown and Finglas areas respectively were arrested in a secret operation by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) at their homes on Wednesday.

The male suspect who is also the chief suspect in a major blackmailing scam which cannot be outlined here for legal reasons has since been released without charge while she is still in custody.

He and the woman were questioned on suspicion of conspiracy to commit serious offences including forgery and possession of false instruments.

Detectives from the GNECB carried out 19 follow-up searches yesterday and arrested nine people who are suspected of obtaining the bogus learner permits after nine driving permits were seized at their homes.

They were questioned about possession of false instruments namely the learner permits.

Fraud squad officers were backed up by local gardai for the searches in a number of locations including in counties Dublin, Kerry, Kildare, Roscommon, Cavan and Louth.

The west Dublin based duo who were originally arrested on Wednesday in relation to the scam are considered its “masterminds” and it has emerged that the 40-year-old woman who is still in custody has two previous convictions for similar offences.

Gardai are hopeful of securing charges against the duo who are suspected of “working closely together” on the detailed fraud.

“Investigations have established that they were selling these bogus driving permits to Romanian nationals across the country for fees of between €1,000 and €1,5000 each,” a senior source explained.

“It has been established that the two west Dublin based suspects sat 36 driving theory tests at different locations across the country in 36 different people’s names.

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“The documentation is than manipulated and the driving permit is sold at great profit,” the source added.

Gardai suspect that the people who buy the permits have been doing it for a variety of reasons.

“It could be because they are disqualified from driving or it can be to get cheaper insurance and they have been buying them because they are trying to evade prosecution or penalty points for driving offences,” the source pointed out.

“And in more sinister cases, these permits can be used to help in staged accident situations and also to open bank accounts to be used in criminality,” the source added.


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