Court orders pair to forfeit 'proceeds of crime'

A Meath man has had more than €49,000 seized from him after a court rejected his claim that the cash was the winnings of a horse racing syndicate.

The man’s partner, with an address in Louth, had €19,950 confiscated from her after telling the court she didn’t trust banks.

David Whearty (aged 50) of Kennetstown, Bellewstown, Co Meath and Angela Rooney (aged 46) of Congress Avenue, Drogheda, Co Louth were due to fly out to Spain when they were stopped at Dublin Airport by a customs officer on February 27, 2010.

Judge Patricia Ryan declared both sums to be the proceeds of crime and ordered that they be forfeited to the State.

John Byrne BL, prosecuting, told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that, in an affidavit to the court, Mr Whearty said that the €49,950 in cash found on him that day came from a syndicate.

Mr Whearty claimed he had found the horse “Nobilissina” for the nine trader syndicate and in return they agreed to place a €50 bet for him each time the horse ran.

He said that after the horse had won six races at odds up to 9-1 the syndicate had amassed winnings of €22,000 for him. He said he had similar winnings from his own €50 bets.

In his affidavit to the court customs officer Andrew Keyes agreed that the horse had won the races but that betting slips handed into court did not indicate any horse, race or race date and that the betting office named is no longer operating.

He also said that some of the winnings did not match up with the odds on the day.

As part of his explanation for having the cash, Mr Whearty stated that he was interested in investing in property in Spain.

In his affidavit to the court Mr Keyes said that an investigation into documents purporting to be from a Spanish property agents were false documents. This assertion was unchallenged

In her affidavit Ms Rooney said that the monies found on her possession came from the sale of property in 2005.

She said she did not trust banks and that her father told her to take the money out of a bank account. She said the money was in her possession because she was going to Spain to buy property there.

Mr Keyes said that it wasn’t reasonable that Ms Rooney had held the money in cash since 2005, given her means which amounted to about €500 a week.

Judge Ryan said that, on the balance of probabilities, the money was either the proceeds of crime or intended to be used in criminal activities.

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