A couple who claimed that they were living on the streets outside a church in Cork but managed to transfer €8,800 in cash to their native Romania in an eight-week period are set to go on trial next month.
Michele Judele (30) and her husband Gheorghe Marginica (29) appeared at Cork District Court by video link from Limerick and Cork Prison respectively.
They both pleaded not guilty to stealing €60 in cash from a student at an ATM on St Patrick’s Street, Cork, on March 27th of this year.
Detective Garda Aoife Hayes previously told the court that the pair transferred €8,800 in cash to Romania in just two months in 15 transactions.
Gardaí allege that receipts to this amount were stored on the couple's phone which they share. The couple claim that the money they sent home came from the kindness of strangers.
Det Garda Hayes said a key was found on Mr Marginica. Gardaí believed it was for a property but that the defendant was not disclosing his place of residence.
Det Garda Hayes said gardaí had made enquiries with the Simon Community in relation to the couple. They determined that he was not in need of accommodation from the charity. Gardaí could also not find any indication of the couple sleeping on the streets.
Det Garda Hayes says that she believes the couple have an address in Ireland.
“I believe he has an address which he has not provided. He has a key in his property. He has not told us where that key is for. He is stating he is homeless.
“Initial assessment of his mobile phone shows a large amount of pictures of money receipts – 15 in total – sent back to his home country of Romania to a total of €8,800. And the money was transferred between February 17th, 2021, and March 24th, 2021."
Sleeping at church
Mr Marginica, with the assistance of a Romanian interpreter, said that he routinely slept in front of a church in Cork city.
Sgt Pat Lyons told Judge Olann Kelleher that gardaí had examined the area around St Mary's Church on Pope's Quay and found nothing to link Mr Marginica to the location.
A copy of the Prosecution statements is to be furnished to Defence solicitor Shane Collins Daly.
Judge Kelleher remanded the couple in continuing custody until their trial appearance on May 4th next.
The allegation is that the pair approached a student asking for money. The State claims that he cooperated arising out of fear and intimidation. The couple refute this suggestion.