Belfast Telegraph

Jailed: Swindler Flannigan who took £160k from dead soldier's trust fund

By Paul Higgins

A fraudster who swindled more than £160,000 from a trust fund a dead soldier left for his two children has been jailed for two years.

Craigavon Crown Court heard yesterday that as well as misappropriating £161,370 from Raymond Moore's trust fund, David Flannigan (45) also swindled £23,508 from Orchard County Travel and a further £66,800 from the Portadown Masonic Recreation Club.

Ordering him to spend a further two years on licence after his release, Judge Donna McColgan QC told Flannigan that while all his offences represented a "significant breach of trust" placed in him, the offence involving Rebecca and Zac Moore was "repugnant in the extreme".

Having heard that Rebecca Moore only received £10,000 of the money left to her by her father, killed in Iraq in 2007, the judge commented that "it would be difficult to imagine a more serious breach of trust."

At an earlier hearing father-of-two Flannigan, from the Lurgan Road in Portadown, pleaded guilty to three counts of abusing the positions of trust he held with the three bodies on various dates between January 1, 2010 and June 1, 2014 .

Last Monday the court heard how Flannigan "moved monies from seven accounts by electronic transfer into and out of their various accounts" and two personal accounts in the name of his wife.

It heard that in December 2009, the trust fund had a balance of £122,221, with £100,000 then placed into a legitimate investment scheme.

"This should have left an account balance of £22,221," prosecuting lawyer Nicola Auret told that hearing, but a £10k cheque was written out to the benefit of William Brown, the owner of Orchard County Travel, and a further cheque for £10k written out to a firm of Belfast solicitors.

That latter cheque, the court heard, was paid by Flannigan to avoid a bankruptcy declaration.

"Having effectively exhausted the money in the account and invested £100k, he set about clawing back the funds which he securely invested," Ms Auret told the court.

Rebecca Moore had been approaching her 21st birthday when she would be eligible to gain from the trust fund her father had set up and contacted Flannigan.

In September 2012 Flannigan transferred £10,000 to Rebecca Moore, but Ms Auret said: "That's the only funds that any of the beneficiaries received from the total amount."

In court yesterday, Judge McColgan said she considered Flannigan's offences were aggravated by the fact there were multiple victims, the amount of money involved and the length of time over which the frauds were committed. In mitigation, she said was Flannigan's guilty plea, clear record and that he had "reassigned his pension rights" to the Moores.

"While that may in some way go to alleviate the financial predicament of Rebecca and Zac Moore, it still leaves a deficit of almost £100,000," she added.

She told Flannigan had he fought the case and been convicted he would have faced a six-year term but given his plea and the contents of the various reports, she reduced that to four years.

Ms Auret confirmed that as Flannigan's pension cannot be handed over until an unspecified future date, a compensation order would not be appropriate but Judge McColgan said she had noted "the money will be reassigned" to Mr Moore's children.

Belfast Telegraph

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