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28/07/2021

Former psychic sentenced on further fraud charges

Former psychic sentenced on further fraud charges

A former psychic serving a jail term for the money laundering of €1.6 million has admitted having fake driving licences and bank holograms at addresses in Westmeath and Leitrim.

Simon Gold (54) is currently serving a seven and a half year sentence having been convicted by a jury following trial in 2019 of money laundering, theft, deception and control of false instruments.

On Friday, Gold pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Court via video link from prison to having under his custody or control three UK driving licences in various names knowing them to be false instruments on October 22, 2012 at Esker View, Ballinvalley, Delvin, Co Westmeath.

Gold, of Augharan, Aughavas, Co. Leitrim, also admitted having four sheets containing 360 removable hologram purporting to be AIB holograms at that address on February 20, 2014.

Judge Martin Nolan had severed these charges from the original indictment for the trial in 2019 and they were due for trial next May 2022. Gold is due for release in 2024.

Judge Nolan on Friday said he was sure these frauds were committed in connection with the charges Gold has already been found guilty of so he felt it would be unfair to extend his stay in prison. He imposed a sentence of one year to run from today's date.

“Thank you so much judge,” responded Gold via video link, after the sentence was pronounced.

Detective Garda Ciaran Cummins on Friday told Lorcan Staines SC, prosecuting, that the fake driving licences had been found in the front bedroom of the then home of the accused in 2012 while he was operating under another name.

He said the holograms were found at a property where other materials were also seized by gardaí in 2014. They were sent to the company which produce holograms for AIB who concluded they were not genuine.

He said Gold had 46 previous convictions, 27 of which relate to the 2019 trial. His other convictions include larceny, forgery, money laundering, deception and promoting a lottery without a licence.

During his trial in 2019 Gold had pleaded not guilty to money laundering, theft, deception and control of false instruments on dates between January 1, 2010 and October 22, 2012.

After over two weeks of evidence, the jury had returned a verdict of guilty on 20 counts after deliberating for over 12 hours. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty on one count of deception.

Additional evidence

While sentencing Gold in 2019 on the money laundering charges Judge Nolan said that he was a very intelligent man and that “these were devious and well thought out crimes”.

He said that two of the Irish victims in the case were “desperate” men “at the end of their tether” and that Gold took advantage of them. He said Gold caused these men distress and embarrassment.

He said these were crimes involving “gross dishonesty” and that while Gold was a man of enterprise and intelligence, he “applies his acumen to crime.”

At that hearing Det Gda Cummins told Mr Staines that Gold changed his name by deed poll from Niall O'Donoghue in the United Kingdom. Gold also represented himself as Simon Gould, Stephen Gould and Simon Magnier.

Dt Gda Cummins said that Gold operated a number of companies such as Anglo Irish Global, Irish Nationwide Bank, Belgravia Consultants Ltd and Elite Banking Group, none of which were actually banks.

When investigating the money laundering offences, gardaí seized a computer owned by Gold upon which they found evidence of earlier frauds committed against three Irish men who sought private financing following the recession in the late 2000's.

“Mr Gold seemed to prey on people who were in severe financial difficulty,” said Dt Gda Cummins.

Gardaí also discovered recordings of phone conversations between Gold and another man from around the time of the money laundering offences.

Dt Gda Cummins said that during the recordings, Gold could be heard to say that he could facilitate to move the money, but that it had to be done through Simon Gold and then “Simon Gold will disappear”.

Gold can be heard to say that “it has to be legitimised” and the only way it can be is through trade. He said that if was not for him then it would have fallen apart ages ago.

He can be heard to say that the first flag that is raised “we're fucked”, they will freeze the account and we will get nothing. He said it does not make sense to “pilfer” the account immediately.

Dominic McGinn SC, defending, said during his plea in mitigation at the 2019 hearing that there were 20 years between the offending and the convictions. He said Gold was raised by his grandmother and has a son with whom he has very little contact.

Mr McGinn said that money laundering was often linked to terrorism or drug trafficking and that his client's crimes were not in that category.

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