Money Mule paid off a family member’s drug debt

A MONEY mule who allowed smishing scammers to use his bank account had gotten involved to pay off a family member’s drug debt, a court heard.

Rendan O’Brien, 44, allowed his account to be used to transfer more than €9,000, which was taken from three other bank customers when they clicked on SMS links.

Judge Bryan Smyth adjourned the case for compensation and a report of fitness for community service.

O’Brien of The Close, Millbrook Lawns, Tallaght pleaded guilty to money laundering.

Dublin District Court heard that €9,282 had entered the defendant’s bank account in September 2021.

Detective Garda David Jennings said the money came from three victims’ accounts because they clicked on text messages.

A woman had €3,000 deducted from her account in this way, a man clicked on a link and €1,800 was transferred, while another man who clicked on the message had €4,482 deducted from her account. This money was fully credited to O’Brien’s account.

When this was established, the defendant cooperated with the Garda investigation and made confessions.

The court heard some of the money was stopped before it left the account and it was recovered, but Bank of Ireland still had a loss of €4,811. All account holders have been refunded.

O’Brien told Gardaí he got involved to help pay off a drug debt for a family member.

Defense attorney John Griffin said the debt had to be paid and there was “an element of coercion” that O’Brien would interfere or there would be “consequences”.

“Too much of that is happening,” Judge Smyth said.

Mr Griffin said O’Brien was unemployed and he did not believe that this “large sum” would need to be repaid.

Judge Smyth said he was considering “all options” and that O’Brien had to deal with compensation. Money Mule paid off a family member’s drug debt

Fry Electronics Team

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