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pup claim Intimidation case brothers charged with fraudulently claiming pandemic payments

Pair were allegedly involved in land sale intimidation campaign

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Séamus Kane, of Ardnagullion, Edgeworthstown, Co Longford, at Longford District Court yesterday. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Séamus Kane, of Ardnagullion, Edgeworthstown, Co Longford, at Longford District Court yesterday. Photo: Gerry Mooney

John Alex Kane, of Cartron, Granard, Co Longford, at Longford District Court yesterday. Photo: Gerry Mooney

John Alex Kane, of Cartron, Granard, Co Longford, at Longford District Court yesterday. Photo: Gerry Mooney

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Séamus Kane, of Ardnagullion, Edgeworthstown, Co Longford, at Longford District Court yesterday. Photo: Gerry Mooney

TWO brothers alleged to have been involved in a campaign of intimidation aimed at halting land sales have appeared in court charged with fraudulently claiming the pandemic unemployment payment (PUP).

Car dealer John Alex Kane (47) and his brother, farmer Séamus Kane (51), appeared on the charges at Longford District Court yesterday. Also charged with fraudulently obtaining PUP was John Alex Kane's wife Lucy Pinfold (42).

Both men have featured prominently in High Court proceedings in recent years.

A Revenue-appointed rec-eiver has alleged John Alex Kane orchestrated a campaign of intimidation aimed at interfering in the sale of properties. He has denied the claims.

The properties are being sold to satisfy a €4.97m judgment against John Alex Kane over unpaid taxes on car sales. He previously operated the Kanes of Granard car showroom.

John Alex Kane, of Cartron, Granard, Co Longford, was charged with eight counts of inducing the Social Protection Minister, through dishonesty and deception, to pay him PUP he was not entitled to claim at various financial institutions in Co Longford, contrary to Section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001.

The charges involve the alleged fraudulent claiming of payments totalling €2,653 in March, April and May 2020.

Ms Pinfold, of the same address, was charged with eight counts of the same offence. The charges involve the claiming of payments totalling €2,800 on dates between March and May 2020.

Séamus Kane, of Ardnagullion, Edgeworthstown, Co Longford, was charged with 11 counts of fraudulently claiming PUP. The charges involve sums totalling €3,850 allegedly claimed between April 2020 and March 2021.

Garda Pádraig Shanley gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution. All three accused made no comment when the charges were put to them.

They were all remanded on bail to allow time for directions from the DPP.

Judge Bernadette Owens was told there would be applications for legal aid from Séamus Kane and Ms Pinfold.

Solicitor Bríd Mimnagh, for Séamus Kane, said he was self-employed, his income was small and he was making payments of €600 a month on foot of a Circuit Court order.

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In civil proceedings in the High Court in 2019, John Alex Kane was given a two-month suspended sentence after he was found to have breached undertakings not to interfere with the work of receiver Myles Kirby.

Mr Kirby later sought to have the sentence activated after John Alex Kane was charged with criminal damage at his former showroom. The businessman would subsequently be acquitted of the charge but was found guilty of trespass.

The application to reactivate the contempt sentence has yet to be heard but is being opposed by John Alex Kane. He and his wife have been able to keep their family home under an agreement with the receiver involving instalments totalling €450,000.

On one occasion in 2018 John Alex Kane produced €58,000 in cash in court to pay an instalment. Last year he claimed he was "insolvent" and borrowed money "from here, there and everywhere" to make instalment payments.

Séamus Kane has twice been jailed for contempt for breaching court orders and undertakings not to interfere with Mr Kirby's work.

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