Woman who gave €5,000 to ex-GAA star in alleged cancer fraud urges others to come forward

The value of the alleged scandal runs close to €1m, with some individuals reported to have given him up to €200,000

Sad woman. Photo: Stock image

Amy MolloyIndependent.ie

A woman who gave €5,000 to an ex-GAA star at the centre of an alleged fraud scandal has urged people to come forward and “to not feel ashamed or embarrassed”.

The businesswoman said she is aware of a number of other self-employed and sporting figures who donated money to the retired player after he claimed he had a rare form of cancer and needed to travel to the United States for treatment.

She said some of the people he targeted were elderly and had used their savings to help him.

“It’s beyond imaginable how deceptive he was,” she told the Irish Independent.

“People need to have the balls to come forward.

“I know a lot of people who have come forward, but there are some who haven’t.

“I don’t understand people feeling stupid or embarrassed. At the end of the day, people did this out of generosity.

“He was approaching some people at the most vulnerable time in their lives.

“I don’t believe I was an easy target. I was someone he knew from his business and sporting days and I did this in good faith. What an awful individual,” she added.

While a number of people allegedly gave him cash, some of the money was also received by bank transfer

The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) is currently investigating complaints from dozens of people.

These people allegedly gave the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, thousands of euro after he approached them claiming he was ill with cancer and needed stem cell treatment.

The value of the alleged fraud is running close to the €1 million mark, with some individuals reported to have given him up to €200,000.

A well-known retired hurler who allegedly gave him €5,000 was also among those impacted, but said he did not wish to comment.

Another former GAA player who allegedly gave him €15,000 also did not wish to comment.

Gardaí are examining the finances of the former sports star at the centre of the case.

While a number of people allegedly gave him cash, some of the money was also received by bank transfer.

He is alleged to have approached wealthy business people as well as friends, supporters and politicians. A former teammate who was previously close with him said that if the allegations are proven, it will taint his legacy.

“We’re all just in shock really. It’s a really sad situation,” they added.

Some people who approached him and accused him of not using the money for cancer treatment claim they were repaid when they threatened to go public.

Members of the GNECB have been taking statements from individuals and have launched a fraud investigation.

Gardaí confirmed they are investigating allegations of fraud in the eastern division.

“An Garda Síochána does not comment on named persons,” they said.

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