Judge to sentence ex-solicitor and elderly businessman in fraud case

A struck-off solicitor and an elderly businessman will be sentenced today for defrauding a bank of almost €9m to buy land now worth €30,000.

They are ex-solicitor John Duffy of Clogheen, Monasterevin, Co. Kildare and 78-year-old Tony McAuliffe, a former jockey of Furze, Co Kildare.

Mr Duffy sent false letters to Investec Bank on behalf of Mr McAuliffe to get a loan for 55 acres of land in Co. Offaly in 2007.

Through Duffy, McAuliffe promised the bank he had a buyer with a €7m deposit for the land and its sand and gravel deposits.

The plan was to sell the property to this buyer, a company called Conway Clarke, for €17m but what Investec did not know is that this company had been set up by the accused.

The bank agreed to fund the full purchase price on the understanding that it was to be a “bridging loan”, but when the loan period expired the case ended up in the High Court.

Both men are due to be sentenced today after pleading guilty to dishonestly obtaining a loan with the intent of making gain.

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