Belfast Telegraph

Fraudster gets seven months for cheque con

By Eamonn MacDermott

A man with 148 previous convictions has been jailed for seven months for what a judge described as a “fairly sophisticated” cheque fraud.

Paul Ireland (25) of Eventide Gardens in Limavady admitted 10 charges of fraud by false representation, handling stolen goods and the theft of mail in transmission, all of which occurred in May last year.

The court heard that a man ordered a cheque book from the First Trust Bank.

He did not receive the cheque book and some time later he went to withdraw some money from his account and was told there were insufficient funds.

When he checked this, he found out that cheques totalling £2,150 had been written against his account.

On May 25 police were contacted by someone who reported that a cheque they had been given for the sale of a dog had been stopped by their bank.

They said that they had met a man at a petrol station in response to an advertisement and he had presented them with a pre-written cheque for £500 for a husky dog.

On May 28 another injured party contacted police to say that they had sold a dog to a man and the cheque had been stopped.

They said they met the man in a car park and again had been presented with a pre-written cheque.

On May 26 a man contacted police to state that he had been given a cheque to pay for a car, and that too had been stopped.

The three injured parties all identified Ireland as the man and his fingerprints were found on the cheques.

When questioned he told police all three were mistaken in their identification and that he had no idea how his fingerprints came to be on the cheques.

Defence barrister Eoghain Devlin said his client had an extensive record and a number of factors had come together to lead to these offences.

Deputy District Judge Mervyn Bates said Ireland had a very bad record and almost every disposal had been tried. He said it was a “comprehensive fraud” and jailed Ireland for seven months.

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