Catriona Carey, in her first interview, accuses an “employee” of orchestrating Careysfort Asset Estates’ €800,000 mortgage scam – and claims she has evidence and will provide it to Gardaí.
Despite branding herself “the scapegoat” in the scam first exposed by RTÉ last February, Carey still admits she spent tens of thousands of client funds on personal items, including international trips and a €55,000 BMW .
In an exclusive interview with the sunday worldCarey, a former Irish hockey gold girl and sister of Kilkenny hurling legend DJ Carey, claims:
- The €400,000 in client funds once held by Careysfort Asset Estates are now “gone and non-refundable”;
- She believed that an employee whom she describes as a “ringleader” bought her clients’ debts from the banks and that the contracts were “good”;
- The employee – who is not related to Carey – collected a further €400,000 in cash payments from the fraud – adding €800,000 to the total;
- She believed “we had enough money to reimburse everyone if it all went wrong”;
- She says she is ‘happy’ to be examined by Garda and has ‘nothing to hide’.”
In February, Carey, a convicted fraudster, was accused of scamming up to 30 people out of thousands of euros after offering to buy debt from their mortgage lenders at a discount.
It has been revealed how more than €200,000 deposited by desperate homeowners into a business account controlled by Carey was allegedly spent on personal items and services.
In a lengthy interview this week, Carey said so sunday world: “I’m sorry for the part I played in this, but I want them (the customers) to understand that I was duped too. The person behind all of this was given a free role to live their life and wasn’t exposed the way I was exposed.
“And I will not allow that person to destroy other people’s lives. That’s why I’m giving this interview.”
Referring to an ongoing investigation by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau into fraud complaints from more than 20 former clients, Carey said: “I am very pleased that it is being investigated.
“I haven’t been spoken to (interviewed) yet. But my apartment was searched.
“The Gardaí took receipts, my laptop, some personal jewelry, they took my purse and my passport and my children’s passports – because someone told them I was a risk of absconding.
“I’m pretty happy to face what I have to face…
“The media portrayed me as running away and hiding.
“I called the Garda after they searched my home and said, ‘Here’s my number and email. I am very happy to talk to you about anything you need. I will discuss everything with you.’
“I gave them passwords for everything.
“I enjoyed working together. I don’t know why I wouldn’t do it for my own sake. I have nothing to hide in what I’ve done. I have given (my associate) over €100,000 in assets to date to solve my own debt resolution problems.
“I wasted two and a half years corresponding with a man who cheated on me from the start.
“I had no reason to start this business to destroy lives. None at all.
“Hopefully everyone involved will pay the price – myself included. If I deserve a penalty for that, I’ll definitely accept it.
“I came here with the best of intentions, to make some money and solve my own debt problems, solve other people’s debt problems. We would have a great future.”
Carey has revealed to the Sunday World the name of the man she claims was the ringleader of the scam – claims to have hundreds of messages on her phone and documents on her laptops will prove she is not aware of his involvement or that of a second man lying referred to as her associate’s “lawyer.”
However, because the devices are currently in the hands of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, where investigators are looking into complaints from 20 to 30 people involved with Carey, that claim cannot be verified.
When asked how she and a company she says she “founded with the best of intentions” ended up at the center of the notorious real estate scam, Carey said she doesn’t deny her own role in what’s happening is, but dispute the level of responsibility to be laid on them.
When asked if she claimed to be a “fall guy,” she said, “Yes, 100 percent.
“I played a part in that by running a business that I thought was legitimate. I started it on behalf of my family and I was the director.”
But she insists it was this “employee” who was “the person who did business through the banks.
“He had contacts with the banks, he had the lawyer who had been his friend for 30 years, he had contacts.
“He knew judges, he knew guards and came across as a very legitimate person.”
She continues, “The original formation of this firm was for real estate transactions. Then I met (my collaborator) in 2019 and he offered an opportunity to buy debt, toxic bank debt.
“I initially asked him to work on some of my own debt-ridden properties.
“With that, I introduced him to a few people I knew and who trusted me to help solve their debt problems, all of which were property-related.
“Not all were family homes – some were businesses, some were commercial units and some were residential. In my books I have 27 customers, not 60 or 100, 27!”
When asked what checks she did on this employee before doing business with him, Carey replied, “I didn’t. I trusted his word was true.
“He gave me a list of the assets he owned and I was happy to see that he had a fairly established amount.”
When asked if she checked ownership of those assets in the land registry, Carey again replies that she didn’t.
“No I haven’t. We just went flat out into the work…not believing anyone would go so far as to take money from people.
“That was late 2019, 2020. That’s when we started taking money from people to buy back assets.”
When asked how much she and her associate had made over the two years, Carey replied, “I made €400,000 in the bank and he made similar money in cash.
“He insisted on cash. I didn’t agree with that, but he insisted they had to pay him that way.”
Carey, a former international hockey player who also played Camogie for Kilkenny, was convicted of fraud in February 2020 after altering a check she received from a client who hired her as his accountant.
She changed a check for €6,948 made out to the Revenue’s Collector General, making it payable on herself instead, and cashing it at a bank in Kilkenny. Carey received an eight-month suspended sentence.
https://www.independent.ie/news/catriona-carey-claims-im-just-the-fall-guy-as-she-blames-mortgage-scam-on-associate-41880421.html Catriona Carey claims ‘I’m just the fall guy’ as she blames ’employees’ for mortgage fraud.