Local paper, the Irish Examiner reports that Patrick (Patsy) Walsh of Tinahealy, County Wicklow, jumped bail before his sentencing in 2014 in Cork but was arrested on a European warrant in Liverpool last month.
The outstanding warrant came to the attention of UK police when Walsh complained about a local matter, Detective Sergeant Mary Skehan told Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
Walsh was the main orchestrator of an elaborate and complex deception of Bank of Ireland, which paid out €970,000 in fraudulently obtained mortgages between February 2009 and September 2011.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed a sentence of six years with the last two years suspended.
Ex-builder Walsh got into financial difficulties between February 2009 and September 2011 and operated under a number of aliases.
In the meantime, he created false identities for several individuals who posed as legitimate purchasers of houses, all but two of which were owned by Walsh. False driving licences, P60s, Personal Public Service (PPS) numbers – the Irish equivalent of a National Insurance number – and payslips were created to facilitate the fraud.
Once the mortgages completed, the individuals with false identities handed over the mortgage cheques from Bank of Ireland to Walsh.
The mortgage loans on the six properties ranged from £110,241 (€126,000) to £111,000 (€207,000) in Listowel, County Kerry; Templemore, County Tipperary; Cork City; and Buttevant and three in County Cork.
The other scammers involved were paid from a few hundred euros to almost £875 (€1,000) for the parts they played in the scam.
On Walsh, the Judge said: “He was in it at all steps even to the extent of setting up false PPS numbers. Bank accounts were opened years previously for those who would be brought in to apply for mortgages. Thinking about this went on for a long time. It all comes back and rests at Mr Walsh’s door. There is still a substantial shortfall (for the bank).
“He did co-operate with the bank, allowing repossession of certain properties, and he co-operated in the sale of those properties.”
However, he continued: “But it is a fraud at the higher end of the scale. The dishonesty is virtually complete. It is organised, determined, and continuous and it all emanates from this man,” said the judge.