13 Aug 2022

Maynooth University unknowingly paid over €360k into fraudulent account, court hears

Question of income falls at Maynooth University

Maynooth University

A man who allowed €10,000 to be transferred to his bank account in an invoice redirect scheme has been ordered to carry out work in the community instead of serving a prison sentence.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that it is accepted that Adetola Jimoh (53) was accepting responsibility on the basis of “recklessness” and he believed that he was accepting the cash to buy a car for another man.

Jimoh of Glenview Park, Tallaght pleaded guilty to one charge of money laundering on August 25, 2015. He has no previous convictions.

Detective Garda Michael Kilfeather told the court that gardaí were alerted to the fact that a payment of €362,810 made by Maynooth University following receipt of an invoice was never received.

In the summer of 2015 the university had engaged the construction firm Rhatigans to carry out development work on campus.

Someone claiming to be from Rhatigans subsequently contacted the university accounts department by email and telephone and said the company's account details had changed. Staff then changed the payment details on their system for the supplier and paid money owed to the contractor into this new account.

When Rhatigans sought payment for their work, it emerged that the university had been given a fraudulent account number into which it had transferred a total of €362,810.

Grainne O’Neill BL, prosecuting, told the court that the university had been the victim of “an invoice redirect fraud”. She said the exact origin of the communication to the college could not be established other than it came through a server located in America.

Det Gda Kilfeather accepted that Jimoh was not involved in this original redirect fraud but it was established that €10,000 of the stolen funds had been transferred from another bank account to his bank account on August 28, 2015.

The court heard that the €10,000 was taken out of Jimoh's account over a number of withdrawals via various ATMs and point of sale transactions.

Jimoh was arrested and interviewed in April 2017, following a search of his home. He told gardaí that he had been earning €700 every fortnight. He accepted that the €10,000 had been lodged to his bank account.

He claimed that a friend had asked him to buy a car for him and had lodged the money for that purpose. He said his friend came from England to Ireland two days later and asked for the money to be returned to him.

Jimoh said the man gave him €380 and told him “sorry for your trouble”. He was not able to give gardaí any information about this man.

Judge Melanie Greally accepted that Jimoh’s pleas of guilty were entered on the basis of recklessness and acknowledged the garda evidence that he believed he was accepting the cash into his account to purchase a car for a friend.

She accepted that his culpability was for the €10,000 lodged to his account and that he was paid €380 for his role.

Judge Greally noted from a report from the Probation Service report previously ordered that Jimoh was suitable for community service before she ordered that he carry out 240 hours community service within 18 months in lieu of an 18-month prison service.

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