Catriona Carey admits to lavish spending and says clients’ €400k is ‘all gone’

Defending her spending of clients’ deposits, Carey continued: “I’m entitled to some wages.
Catriona Carey at court

Catriona Carey at court

Carey in her hockey days

Carey in her hockey days

Catriona Carey talking to Patrick O’Connell

Catriona Carey talking to Patrick O’Connell

Patrick O'ConnellSunday World

Catriona Carey this week admitted to theSunday World that €400,000 in client funds once held by ‘Careysfort Asset Estates’ is now ‘gone and not recoverable”.

Bank statements previously obtained by RTÉ showed, as of January, just €488.10 remained of the €400,000 paid by clients into the company accounts.

The statements confirmed also that more than €200,000 of this money was spent on goods and services for personal use.

Sitting at the kitchen table of her friend’s home in the Southeast this week, we quizzed Carey about these purchases, which included everything from a €55,000 BMW, a trip to Florida, Armani clothes and even a €7,000 court bill from a previous fraud case.

Asked whether a BMW car purchased at a cost of €55,226 on July 21, 2020 had been for her, she replied: “Yes!”

Asked whether she had gone on a six-night-stay to a Swiss ski resort costing €7,058 in December 2020, Carey replied: “Yes.”

Asked whether she had gone on a trip to Florida, weeks later, at a total cost of €22,000, Carey disputed the cost saying: “That’s wrong. It wasn’t €22,000.”

She said she believed the cost was “€6,000, I think”.

We asked her about the expenditure of €1,000 at Armani Exchange.

“Those were clothes you were buying?” we asked.

“Yes,” she responded. “They were, well it was my (associate) actually who bought them.”

We asked about €2,000 that was spent in Welch sport in Kilkenny and whether she had also made this purchase.

“Yes,” she responded, “it was sponsorship gear for my hockey team!”

We asked also about the €6,948 from the company account taken to repay a debt arising from a case where she was convicted of forging a cheque from a Kilkenny hairdresser.

“You didn’t see anything wrong with that?” we asked.

“No,” she responded, “because it was a legitimate business and I was paying back for the wrong I had done.”

Catriona Carey talking to Patrick O’Connell

Catriona Carey talking to Patrick O’Connell

We put it to Carey that when all the spending on personal items had been totted up it came to more than €200,000.

“Not all by me,” she responded. “That’s been mis-reported. I went on a ski-trip but I paid for it out of funds from my own account.

“I had money in the company account that was not from clients.

“I paid for that trip. But that’s not important, that’s not what you are asking me. I went on a business trip to Miami, I took a few days off.”

Asked whether the Florida trip had been for business reasons connected to Careysfort, she responded: “It was a business conference so it had relation to future investments that I was going to make.”

We again put it to Carey that €200,000 of the €400,000 of her clients’ funds had gone on personal spending.

“No!” she responded. “That’s been misreported. Nobody has actually totted that up.”

“RTÉ were given information – some of this (spending) was belonging to (my associate) also, not just me.

“The car was mine, I was encouraged to change my car, upgrade the car that I’ve had.

“Anyone that knows me knows that I’ve always had a car since I was 20 years of age.

BMW 4-Series: €55,000

BMW 4-Series: €55,000

“A nice car. It was just something that I did. I was encouraged to go ahead with a BMW car, you can ask the garage – that I was reluctant to do – but I was encouraged by my (associate) to go ahead because we had all our contracts done.”

Carey claims her associate also told her that he had a separate account in which between €3.5million and €4million was being held.

“We had enough money to refund everybody if everything had gone wrong,” she continued.

Defending her spending of clients’ deposits, Carey continued: “I’m entitled to some wages.

“I spent too much based on the fact I thought everything was safe and sound.

“But I am entitled to some expenditure out of the business.

“It wasn’t like I was the only one taking money out of the company. I was comfortable to do so.”

We then asked Carey how, with the amount of money going out on personal spending, Careysfort would have been able to purchase the debts?”

She responded: “Because the missing link here is that my (associate) had €3.5 million on deposit in a solicitor’s account in Bank of Ireland.

“No, I was never shown the bank statement, I was always kept in the dark with everything.

“I did try for two years, begging to get the statements.

“I did everything in my power and I was being abused and every time I’d ask – there was an excuse.

“It was excuse after excuse after excuse for me not to get the information.

“But I was being assured in writing that everything was done and all the contracts were in place and, or, refunds would be done.”

Swiss ski trip: €7,058

Swiss ski trip: €7,058

We put it to Carey that people will find it difficult to believe her claims that she spent so much of her clients’ funds based on the belief there was an external account that was going to be used to put everything right?

“It wasn’t just the account outside the company,” Carey replied.

“There was €400,000 given to this (associate) in cash payments also to produce the work.

“So, there was the understanding that there was enough money handed to my (associate) in cash payments to do the deals because the deals were so magic they were going to be done for 10 grand, 15 grand, very small amounts of money.”

Asked to look back now and assess her actions, Carey responded: “It’s crazy. It is 100 per cent.

“But you see, when you are in a vulnerable situation and you are hoping that your own issues are going to be resolved, you believe into a situation.

Florida trip: €22,000

Florida trip: €22,000

“Because yes, it might sound too good to be true.

“I thought we had a credible business. The one thing I didn’t check was the man who was ring-leading all of this as being a criminal and conman.

In a follow up telephone call to our interview, we asked Carey whether any of the €400,000 once held by Careysfort was recoverable.

“Okay, so there are some assets that were seized,” she replied.

“And €74,000 was paid to (a third party).”

Asked if any of the remainder was recoverable, Carey responded: “I was being told we had so many contracts in place that I was very comfortable in conducting the business the way it was conducted …”

Again, we asked: “but in terms of the €400,000, is any of it recoverable?

“No!” came the response.

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