A 54-YEAR-OLD lawyer has been arrested as part of an investigation into the theft of more than €4 million from his clients.
The arrest of the west Dublin-based lawyer came this week after a lengthy investigation by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB).
Fraud police detectives have been investigating the case for several years after it was referred to Gardaí by the Bar Association, which received 40 separate complaints relating to the man’s alleged activities, which involved embezzlement of funds.
The lawyer is suspected of stealing money from clients who deposited it with him in connection with mortgages, real estate transactions and probate matters.
It is claimed that just over 4 million euros were stolen by 40 people. The Bar Association has so far reimbursed the alleged victims 1.6 million euros.
The lawyer at the center of the investigation has been suspended for several years and is believed to have a gambling problem which could be at the root of the alleged offences.
He was arrested at Bridewell Garda Station in Dublin on Monday by order of GNECB officers and was being held until Tuesday.
He was interrogated about 40 separate thefts and later released without charge. A file is now being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
“This is a person who shows no real wealth – whatever was stolen is now gone,” a source said Irish Independent.
The man is one of several lawyers and other professionals, including GPs and accountants, arrested by Gardaí across the country in recent years investigating allegations of fraud.
In a very different matter, the GNECB is coordinating a major investigation into convicted fraudster Padraic Maloney, 56, of Rahoon, Galway, who is based in England.
Investigations so far have revealed that Maloney has taken deposits totaling more than €50,000 from dozens of customers and has failed to install promised solar panels in their homes.
Gardaí are investigating complaints from a long list of clients, some with up to €16,000 out of pocket.
The average sum allegedly defrauded by Maloney is said to be between €3,500 and €6,000 per victim.
A source said Irish Independent gardaí have received complaints from many parts of Ireland regarding Maloney’s activities.
“There have been complaints from at least 11 people, including victims in Cork, Dublin, Mullingar, Kinnegad and Piltown, Co Kilkenny,” a source said.
“The website he used to scam people is back up after being shut down for a while.
“Gardaí hasn’t had a chance to speak to him yet as he’s in England.”
Maloney was found guilty of triple larceny in February 2012 and sentenced to two years in prison with 12 months suspended.
He had been charged in connection with the theft of nearly €40,000 in cash and was accused of stealing from a man’s home five times in seven months in 2008 and 2009.
Maloney founded Hibernia Solar Energy, which specializes in installing solar panels in customers’ homes.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/suspended-solicitor-is-arrested-in-probe-into-alleged-4m-theft-41921986.html Suspended lawyer arrested over alleged €4m theft