Man jailed for Donedeal fraud and possession of house-breaking implements

A Newcastle man who defrauded people out of their money by advertising a mobile phone and All Ireland tickets on auction websites like Donedeal and then not sending the goods, and found driving while disqualified with a van full of implements used for breaking into houses, was jailed for 16 months and disqualified from driving for five years this week.

At Galway District Court on Monday Owen Maughan (34 ) with an address at Camillaun Park, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to possession of implements, namely vice grips, a screwdriver, nail bar, and gloves, with the intention that they be used in the course of a burglary, and driving without insurance or a driving licence at Tuam Road on August 4, 2011.

Maughan also pleaded guilty to charges of dishonestly by deception inducing a person to conduct an online cash transfer of €300 to an AIB account for the purchase of an Apple iPhone which was not received at Teach Mor on September 2, 2011, and dishonestly by deception inducing another person to lodge money to a bank account under the premise of receiving goods which were not received, with the intention of making gain, at AIB University Branch on September 7, 2011.

Detective Garda Gerard Carroll gave evidence that when Maughan’s van was stopped on August 4, 2011 he admitted to driving while disqualified and that he had no insurance. Det Garda Carroll also observed a number of implements in the vehicle including a nail bar, which he said in his experience was a tool used for lifting out back patio doors during burglaries. When questioned about the implements Maughan said that he was simply collecting scrap.

The court then heard that on September 2, 2011, a complaint was made from a person who had seen an advertisement for the sale of a mobile phone on the Donedeal website. The person rang a number and spoke to a person named Owen who claimed to be living in Achill, Co Mayo, and who said he would send a receipt to prove where he had bought the phone. The defendant also said he was selling the phone because he had got an upgrade and his wife did not want it. The injured party agreed to buy the phone by lodging €300 into an account, however he did not receive the phone.

Inspector Mick Coppinger then further explained that on September 7, 2011, an injured party had responded to an online advertisement for two All Ireland tickets for sale at a price of €550. She agreed to lodge the money into a bank account, but the tickets never arrived. Gardai traced the details of the bank account and discovered that the money had gone into the defendant’s account.

Judge Mary Fahy was then told that Maughan has 40 previous convictions which includes a suspended sentence imposed in March last year for handling stolen property as well as a number of road traffic offences. Maughan’s solicitor said that the father of five has had a severe addiction problem and that he insists he posted the All Ireland tickets.

When Judge Fahy heard that Maughan, who is unemployed, had no money for compensation she noted: “That didn’t stop him from coming up with €1,000 for recognisance [for bail]”. She was then told that this money had been borrowed from family members.

“He could have borrowed for these people who are at a loss. He was living off his wits and defrauding people out of their money, and driving a car while disqualified, a vehicle which was full of house breaking implements,” said Judge Fahy before convicting Maughan.

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