Concerns that some Cash for Gold stores are being used for the laundering of stolen goods has led to Fianna Fáil city councillor Ollie Crowe demanding regulation of such businesses.
Cllr Crowe was adamant the stores are running “perfectly legitimate operations”, but that the regulation is required to ensure “they are not being utilised by criminals to launder stolen goods”.
His call comes after concerns were raised by constituents in Bohermore and Westside who recently had their homes burgled. Many of them claimed that stolen goods could be traded easily in such stores. Cllr Crowe pointed out that anecdotal evidence suggested such burglaries are targeting jewellery, and such valuables.
“The 15 per cent increase in burglaries which occurred in the first half of 2012 in Galway is being mirrored nationwide,” he said. “All steps should be taken to ensure it is difficult for criminals to launder the proceeds of theft. Viewed in this regard, the lack of regulation for these cash for gold businesses cannot continue.”
Cllr Crowe said the differing legislation for pawn brokers and cash for gold businesses was contradictory.
“Pawn brokers are required to retain records to allay fears about laundering of stolen goods but not cash for gold businesses,” he said. “The failure of the Justice Minister Alan Shatter to introduce legislation in this area is troubling and will do nothing to decrease theft.”
Cllr Crowe is calling for Cash for Gold businesses to be required to pay by cheque rather than cash; to keep proper records, which would include a photo of the goods traded, a photocopy of the seller’s ID, and proof of address of the seller; and a waiting period of 30 days before selling the goods on.