By Isabel Hayes
An apprentice electrician who money laundered more than €50,000 after answering an ad on Snapchat has been ordered to carry out 100 hours of community service in lieu of a 20-month jail sentence.
Sean William O’Rourke (21) told gardaí he agreed to hand over his bank card to money launderers after seeing an ad on social media in order to “make a few quid”, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard today.
O’Rourke was told he would receive a “couple of thousand euro” if he allowed his bank account to be used, Detective Garda David Jennings told the court.
O’Rourke, with an address at Glenview Lawns, Tallaght, Dublin, pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering within the state on February 7 this year.
He has no previous convictions.
Sentencing O’Rourke, Judge Martin Nolan said the court has been dealing with a lot of similar cases of young people with no prior criminal records getting involved in money laundering.
“This epidemic is going to have to stop somehow,” Judge Nolan said.
“If that means young people go to jail to stop it, those young people are going to have to go to jail.”
The judge said he would not jail O’Rourke on this occasion.
He ordered him to carry out 100 hours of community service in lieu of a 20-month jail sentence, provided he is deemed suitable by the Probation Service.
He adjourned the matter to March 1 to confirm the sentence.
Det Gda Jennings told Lisa Dempsey BL, prosecuting, that an email between a company and a client was hacked, leading to the company paying a sum of €52,186 into the wrong account.
The fraudulent transaction came to light when the client contacted the company seeking the payment they hadn’t received.
The money was traced to O’Rourke’s account, which was frozen immediately.
When interviewed by gardaí, O’Rourke, an apprentice electrician, said he had seen an ad on Snapchat looking for people to give out their bank account details and he saw it as a “way of making a few quid”.
“He was gullible,” Det Gda Jennings said.
O’Rourke met a man in Tallaght and gave him his bank card.
He was able to continue accessing money to his account using the tap function on his phone, the court heard.
Det Gda Jennings said gardaí are aware of criminal gangs in the Tallaght, Blanchardstown and Coolock areas of Dublin who are carrying out such money laundering operations.
John Griffin BL, defending, said his client had not come to the attention of gardaí either before or after this incident.
The court heard O’Rourke didn’t make any money out of the operation. The €50,000 was returned in full to the company.