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'Financial grooming' Woman (60) arrested in south Dublin after vulnerable OAP (75) conned out of nearly €1m

In total he “Invested” around €950,000 with the alleged swindler but the banks have managed to freeze around €500,000 of these funds.

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Fraud squad detectives have arrested a 60-year-old woman in south county Dublin after an OAP was conned out of almost €1 million in an elaborate investment fraud.

The victim in the case is a retired 75-year-old Dublin man described as “vulnerable” who was tricked into making six bank transfers over a period of two years.

The woman is being questioned at Irishtown Garda Station by officers from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) who were first alerted to the situation when the victim’s bank became suspicious of some of the transactions.

In total he “Invested” around €950,000 with the alleged swindler but the banks have managed to freeze around €500,000 of these funds.

However the additional €450,000 remains unaccounted for and detectives suspect that this money is gone.

A detailed search of her home in an upmarket south Dublin suburb took place today as detectives attempted to gather evidence.

She faces up to ten years in jail if charged and convicted under the offence she is being questioned about which is contrary to the Investment Intermediary Act 1995.

Senior sources said that she became friendly with the victim due to the fact that she is in a relationship with “a highly respected man who is well known in media circles.”

“This meant that she was moving in certain circles involving wealthy people – she got to know the victim because she was in these high society type of circles,” the source said.

“What she embarked on then is a type of financial grooming and she convinced the gentleman that she could invest funds for him but she had no authorisation to do this or it seems any intention to do it either.

“Financial grooming is a crime that is normally prevalent within families when for example a trusted person takes control of an elderly or vulnerable person’s bank account but this case also has all the hallmarks of this type of crime,” the source added.

It is understood that the vulnerable victim had trusted the suspect so much that when his financial institution first informed him of their suspicions about his bank transfers, the man had to be persuaded that he was actually the victim of a potential crime.

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“This woman has been arrested under a relatively obscure piece of legislation but the penalties on conviction are fairly severe,” a source pointed out.

Meanwhile in a separate operation today, GNECB detectives arrested another woman aged in her 60’s in the Tallaght area as part of the long running Operation Skein which has seen dozens of suspected money mules being detained.

Her arrest follows the arrest of her son last June who is suspected of having €14,000 in his bank account in 2020 from an invoice redirect fraud in which an Italian company was duped into sending funds to criminals based in Ireland rather than the company they thought they were paying in China.

Officers suspect that €4,000 of the €14,000 was transferred to his mother’s account.

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