Gardaí investigating Catriona Carey over alleged fraud have asked UK police for help tracing bank accounts and potential assets.
Arey, who is being investigated in connection with an alleged €500,000 mortgage fraud, was linked to four UK-registered companies, including a company at the center of the investigation. Carey registered the companies at what appear to be proxy addresses in Solihull in the West Midlands and in London.
Detectives from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau have made a formal request for “mutual legal assistance” to UK police forces to trace any bank accounts or other assets she may have in that country.
Customers who claim Carey cheated them mostly paid them via wire transfers to bank accounts, some of which were overseas.
Sources close to the investigation say the UK request is part of a targeted international trawl to locate foreign bank accounts linked to the company at the heart of the scam.
Similar inquiries via Europol to locate bank accounts in EU jurisdictions have already revealed that accounts in Germany and Belgium were more or less sanitized when detectives reached them.
The British part of the investigation is likely to take more time as the mutual legal assistance process, administered by the judicial authorities of both countries, is much slower, according to sources.
Carey, who lives in Kilkenny, is a former Ireland international field hockey player and a sister of hurling legend DJ Carey. The investigation into Carey’s financial activities was launched in February after that of RTÉ Prime time investigations revealed it was offering to help distressed mortgage holders renegotiate their loans in exchange for thousands of euros in fees.
Carey said her company would buy the loans from her bank at a discount and offer the mortgagee a new interest rate of 10 to 30 percent of the loan value.
The contracts never came about. Instead, financial records showed how fees paid to Careysfort Assets Estates were allegedly squandered on ski trips, exotic vacations, designer clothes, supermarket shopping and a €55,000 BMW.
Prime time investigations reported that around €400,000 in customer fees were deposited into the company’s account, but only €488.10 remained in the account as of last February.
Eighteen people claimed she cheated them out of €500,000. The scale of the alleged fraud could be significantly higher, informed sources said.
More than 60 alleged victims have been identified by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau. However, not all of them are expected to make statements to An Garda Síochána.
Catriona Carey registered Careysfort Asset Estates Ltd in Ireland in 2017 with an address in Merrion Square. She registered a company of the same name in England in October 2018 with an address on Wenlock Road, London. The company was due to be deregistered in October last year, but the ‘Strike Off’ campaign has been halted. The only accounts filed with the company in 2019 show it had £298 in debt.
Other UK companies of which she has been a Director are Iris Trading Ltd, which was formed in 2013 and wound up four years later; A financial company called Empire Holdings Corporation, founded in 2019, has never traded and was shut down in March last year. She has been Director of MP&P since 2020. The company listed its operations as “Property Unit Trusts.”
She has been a director of Westminster Merchant Trade UK Ltd since May 2019, which deals with the “extraction of crude oil”. The company was due to be delisted in December last year, but the delisting was temporarily put on hold because the registrar received an “objection,” company filings say.
Detectives raided Carey’s home in Kilkenny in March and confiscated documents and records. A house she owned was sold for €365,000 by liquidators appointed for the property. She was charged with driving her 202 KK registered BMW 420 without insurance last December. Her case will return to Kilkenny District Court on May 17.
Carey Wanted €80,000 Cash Upfront: ‘No Checks and No Wire Transfers’
Catriona Carey wasn’t just trading bank transfers. In fact, she insisted that a former client pay her the proposed €80,000 fee – in cash.
The businessman, who has asked not to be named, ran into Catriona Carey and her associate in 2019 as he fought to keep eight properties.
He was told that Carey would buy back any of his properties at a discount, financing the businessman at a lower interest rate.
“I wanted to do eight properties and they suggested €10,000 per property,” the businessman said this weekend. He was told the fee of 80,000 euros would have to be paid in cash.
“There were no electronic funds transfers, no checks – only cash.
“I said, ‘Tell you what, I’ll make one. I’ll make one and we’ll see how you do with it.’”
He brought €10,000 in cash to a meeting with Carey’s associate and handed it over. A friend witnessed the transaction and received a receipt for his €10,000.
He later met Carey himself at a Kilkenny hotel, where she “answered all his questions.” As with other former clients, his contract never materialized and he lost his money.
After RTÉ uncovered their activities, he called them.
“She didn’t answer the phone but she called back and said. “I can’t really talk right now, they’re after me. We still have your contract. We’re still going.’
“Even at that point, she was still telling me everything would be fine,” he said. “I knew it was over. I just wanted to hear what would come out of her mouth.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/catriona-carey-fraud-probe-shifts-focus-to-bank-accounts-in-uk-41626733.html Catriona Carey fraud investigation shifts focus to UK bank accounts