A Dublin man found with thousands of euro in cash, a Rolex watch and Prada runners during a garda search of his home has been jailed for money laundering.
Craig Courtney (23) of Avonbeg Gardens, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three counts of money laundering offences relating to sums of €10,000, €14,600 and transferring ownership of a car on dates between February and March 2017. He has four previous convictions.
Judge Martin Nolan said Courtney was a young man with good hope for the future and every possibility that he would not re-offend but said this was a serious offence.
He noted his guilty plea and co-operation.
“Most serious criminals want to make money from crime and money laundering is a serious offence because it allows criminals to keep their money and use their money,” said Judge Nolan.
He said despite the good mitigation Courtney did deserve a custodial sentence, noting this was a “serious lapse.” He imposed a two year prison sentence.
Garda Vincent Jaffrey told Kieran Kelly BL, prosecuting, that gardaí carried out a surveillance operation and obtained a warrant to search Courtney’s home.
In his bedroom they found €1,115, an iPhone and Prada runners with a price tag of €500. He said the money was for a trip to New York.
An An Post account book was found inside an old runner in the hot press.
It had a balance of €10,000, which Courtney said was from a accident claim a number of years previously.
A sum of €1,330 was found hidden behind a canvas painting and €1,780 under cushions. He said this was also for his holiday. A total of €4,525 was recovered, as well as a Rolex watch.
The An Post deposit book was seized and inquires made about a Volkswagen Golf registered to Courtney and bought for €14,895 in cash.
It emerged that at some point after the search Courtney changed the car into another person’s name and filled out a lost/stolen form for the An Post account book which was in garda custody.
The garda investigation also found that a Credit Union cheque of €14,600 was lodged into a motor dealership and the money given back out in cash for the proported sale of a car.
Gda Jaffrey said gardaí did not believe there was a car.
Eoin Lawlor BL,defending, handed in a number of testimonials and a letter of apology on his client’s behalf.
He said Courtney was described as a “lovely man” who had the capacity and support to do better.
He said Courtney had began using cannabis and cocaine as a result of peer pressure and racked up debts.
As a result of threats he found himself doing work by holding cash for others.
Counsel said Courtney had a great deal of family support, no longer abused drugs and was now qualifying as a plumber.
He asked the court to take into account his client’s early guilty pleas and efforts to rehabilitate.
He asked Judge Nolan not to impose a custodial sentence but consider community service to demonstrator that this behaviour is not tolerated.