Spanish man arrested at Dublin Airport in €450,000 fraud ‘money mule’ investigation

The arrested man had been living in Co Tipperary at the time of the alleged offending and is suspected of acting as a money mule for a transnational crime organisation.

Ken FoyIndependent.ie

Fraud squad detectives have arrested a suspect this evening at Dublin Airport after he was extradited back to Ireland from the UK to face charges in relation to a €450,000 invoice redirection scam.

The 49-year-old Spanish national is expected to face up to 50 separate money laundering charges in relation to the offence which occurred in September, 2017.

The man is being held in Ballymun Garda Station tonight.

The arrested man had been living in Co Tipperary at the time of the alleged offending and is suspected of acting as a money mule for a transnational crime organisation.

sundayworld.comcan reveal that just under €450,000 was stolen in the fraud in Switzerland over five years ago when a Dutch pharmaceutical company which had an office there became the victim of the fraud when it was duped into believing that it was dealing with an Italian supplier.

Invoice redirection fraud happens when a person or a business falls prey to requests, purporting to emanate from trusted suppliers or service providers, duping them into believing that a beneficiary’s bank account details have been changed.

As a result, funds that are due to be paid out are transferred to a fraudulent account.

In this case it is alleged that the man who was extradited here this evening controlled the Irish bank account into which the money from the theft was transferred.

It is suspected he kept some of the stolen money for himself.

His arrest follows a review of the case by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) in 2020 by which the time the suspect had left the country before his phone could be seized for evidence or he could be arrested by investigators.

The arrest operation is part of Operation SKEIN which has seen over 500 people across the country arrested for fraud offences.

The GNECB‘s long-running probe called is what gardaí describe as a an ongoing investigation into international business email compromise (BEC)/invoice re-direct/romance fraud being committed from Ireland, and the laundering of the proceeds through accounts in this jurisdiction.

“The arrest of this individual truly shows the transnational space that these gangs operate in. An Irish bank account being used to launder money from a fraud committed in Switzerland in which a Dutch company were the injured party,” a senior source explained.

Meanwhile, it has been an extremely busy month for the GNECB with some very significant court convictions in separate investigations.

Last Thursday, two men were sentenced for their roles in the money laundering of over €160,000 as part of a worldwide investigation into invoice redirection fraud.

Emanuele Cocco (29) of Heytesbury Street, Dublin 8, received a ten-month sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for possessing a total of €17,923 as the proceeds of crime in an AIB account, a Bank of Ireland account, a Revolut account and a sum of cash.

Daniel O’Carroll (28) of Inchicore Road, Dublin 8, was handed a fully-suspended sentence of 16 months for possessing just over €26,000 as the proceeds of crime in various bank accounts, after Judge Martin Nolan said “you deserve your one chance.”

In another case last week, a high-ranking member of the West African ‘Black Axe’ organised crime gang was jailed for five years for his role in an €800,000 money laundering and fraud operation.

Members of the criminal money laundering operation were caught flushing fraudulent documents down the toilet after hotel staff at the Carlton Hotel in Tyrellstown alerted gardaí to their suspicious activity, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

Four men were sentenced for their roles in the criminal enterprise, which the court heard came to light after gardaí were called to the hotel in February 2018.

When gardaí seized the mobile phones of Junior Boboye (28), they uncovered that he was “a high-ranking member of a West African crime group”, which originated in Nigeria but operates internationally, Detective Garda Sean Sheehan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau told the court.

Among the evidence, gardaí found Boboye had been sent a video of a man being executed by being shot in the head, to which Boboye responded: “True sir, he got what he deserved”. This execution happened outside the jurisdiction, but it showed the lengths the criminal organisation was prepared to go to, the court heard.

Boboye, with an address at Castle Park, Ashbourne, Co Meath, pleaded guilty to committing multiple offences for the benefit of a criminal organisation on dates between August 2017 and May 2018 – a crime that carries a maximum sentence of 15 years.

He also pleaded guilty to 13 counts relating to money laundering and using false instruments during the same period.

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