Rock bottom | 

Couple reveal Catriona Carey asked for €20k last week after they already handed over €10k

"My husband rang her last week (about the news reports) and she said, 'It's another lady that's involved. It's nothing to do with me"

Catriona Carey

Amy Molloy

A couple who handed over €10,000 to businesswoman Catriona Carey have claimed she assured them last week they would get contracts for a new mortgage once she received a further €20,000.

But the pair said they were "sick to their stomach" when they saw the front page of their local newspaper. They fear they have fallen victim to alleged fraud.

"I was on night duty and I don't know how I got through it after what I read. I felt sick," the woman told the Sunday World.

"My husband rang her last week (about the news reports) and she said, 'It's another lady that's involved. It's nothing to do with me. Your house is safe and once that other €20,000 is given I will give you your contracts'."

Ms Carey spoke to the husband on February 18, 21, 23 and last Friday, February 25, assuring them that everything was in order.

The couple, who wish to remain anonymous, met with Ms Carey two years ago after falling on hard times.

During the recession, they got into financial difficulty after the man lost his business and were struggling to make mortgage repayments.

"We had hit rock bottom and we were trying to keep our home," the woman said.

"She reassured us this wouldn't happen.

"When you're so desperate you're inclined to believe people. I can't believe I've fallen for this."

The couple contacted gardaí this week and were referred to the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau.

It emerged yesterday that gardaí had carried out a search at the home of the former Ireland hockey star and seized a number of documents.

Ms Carey is being investigated for alleged fraud offences after receiving thousands of euro from people across the country through a mortgage scheme that offered to buy debt from their lenders at a discount.

More than €200,000 deposited by homeowners to a business account controlled by Ms Carey was allegedly spent on personal items and services, RTÉ Investigates reported.

It is understood more people have since come forward to make allegations of fraud.

Catriona Carey

Two years ago, the couple quoted in this article had arranged to meet the Kilkenny woman at an office, but on the day she changed the location to a service station.

She told them she would buy their mortgages for a third of what was owed, and with a €30,000 deposit she would be able to offer them a new mortgage for €70,000.

"We gave her €10,000 and kept following up with her as we said we weren't paying the remainder until we got confirmation of what was happening," the woman said.

About a year and a half later she sent them on some terms and conditions, but no contract. Each time they asked about the contracts, "she had some sort of an excuse".

"As far as the banks are concerned, they've heard nothing from us and we're on the verge of being evicted.

"We're working our backsides off to put our kids through college. My only hope is that something will come from this and the banks will try to help us out."

Gardaí say investigations are ongoing and no arrests have been made.

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