Two Irishmen have been jailed in the Netherlands after conning victims out of €250,000 in a crime spree which left one 76-year-old woman so broke she had to get a job doing a paper round to make ends meet.
ang leader Dennis McGinley (37) and his relative Hugh Patrick McGinley (20) conned 14 mainly elderly victims out of €250,000 over six months last year. Other gang members also operated as part of the scam.
Their criminal scam came to an end when Amsterdam police arrested them at the Hotel Corendon in the city on December 11 last year.
Dennis, who is from the Dublin Road in Longford and has previously been involved in a vicious feud in the town, was convicted of fraud as well as leading a criminal organisation and sentenced to three years. Hugh Patrick was also convicted of fraud and participating in a criminal organisation and sentenced to 15 months.
Both men were sentenced in court in Amsterdam last Wednesday week.
They defrauded one man out of €77,500 and another woman out of €64,500, while a 73-year-old who handed over her life savings of €14,000 for the men to carry out work said she felt deeply ashamed of herself.
Another 76-year-old woman told the court that since the McGinleys took her savings she has had to get a paper round to pay her bills.
The court heard their reign of crime lasted from June until December last year and the scam was very refined and slick and used “crafty tricks and weaving together of fabrications”.
The McGinleys, using a variety of fake names and fake company names, arrived at people’s home well-dressed with glossy brochures under their arms and posed as handymen who were reliable workers and could carry out small repairs on homes for low prices.
However, once someone agreed the fraudsters started intimidating their victims and pressuring them to have more expensive jobs done after claiming to have spotted other issues with their homes. They also pressured for payment in advance, preferably in cash but sometimes to bank accounts in Ireland, and as soon as the money was paid they would disappear and carry out no work.
A 73-year-old woman, who was conned out of €14,000, told the court: “I am deeply ashamed that I have been so misguided to pay such large amounts.”
The court heard the McGinleys had skillfully fooled her with their smooth talk and well-groomed appearances.
She transferred the money to the men to carry out work, including renovating her roof. As soon as the money was transferred they told her they had to go and get materials but they never returned.
A number of other victims testified against the McGinleys, including one who said they had initially been hired to clean the facade of the house but they then made up a story that the roof needed urgent repairs which they could carry out for €3,500.
Once again, after the victim paid over the money the McGinleys left without carrying out any work. They told their victim they were going to “get lunch” but never returned.
Another victim who was conned out of €6,000 had raised concerns after paying some of the money as he had heard stories about travelling Irish handymen who conned people in the Netherlands but one of McGinley’s men replied that he was “very religious” and would never do such a thing.
An elderly woman who ended up losing €34,000 to the gang revealed that McGinley helped her increase her transfer limit on her bank account and helped her carry out the transfer.
Another elderly woman was defrauded of €64,500 in October last year after she said she agreed to transfer a much smaller amount to one of McGinley’s men after falling for their scam. She said she doesn’t know how so much was debited from her account and only discovered it later.
Police eventually tracked down the fraudsters to their Amsterdam Hotel last December and arrested them.
They denied involvement when questioned and pleaded not guilty in their trial, claiming they were just handymen working for a boss who ran off with all the money.
However, the court did not believe their version of events and said Dennis was the leader of the crime gang and Hugh Patrick was an active participant. Phone messages between the gang members revealed Dennis to be the “proverbial boss”, the court found.
“The suspect has repeatedly used a false name and played a role in staging the need for repairs. The suspect was designated by several complainants as the person in charge, who maintained the contacts, negotiated the price, received the cash payments and prepared the invoices.”
In their sentencing, delivered this week, the Dutch judges revealed the financial devastation in which the McGinleys left their victims.
“The victims were left empty- handed. Some of the victims got into financial trouble because of the fraud. For example, one of the victims states that, at the age of 76, she had to take a paper route to be able to pay her bills.
“In addition to the large amounts, up to € 77,500, that the suspect and his co-defendants have taken from the victims, the court also charges the defendant heavily that he and his co-defendants have seriously damaged the confidence of the victims with their actions. The victims feel cheated and are weighed down by a feeling of shame that they have allowed themselves to be misled… the court finds all this very bad.”
The court heard Dennis McGinley has previous convictions in Ireland and the UK, while Hugh Patrick has no previous convictions.
Members of the extended family have also been convicted of serious crimes in Ireland. This includes Denis’s first cousin Brian, who served a lengthy sentence for his role in a home invasion robbery in which a threat was made to rape a victim.
Another cousin, Patrick ‘Toucher’ McGinley was also convicted of a shooting in which their uncle ‘Small’ Barney McGinley died in 2015.
The judges said Hugh Patrick travelled from Ireland to the Netherlands at the age of 15 and “has been participating in overseas criminal family activities from an early age”.
Dennis McGinley has previously been involved in feuding in his native Longford, He has convictions in Ireland for assault causing harm and criminal damage relating to a feud-related attack on Martin ‘the Roadrunner’ Nevin at the Cathedral Car Park in Longford in August 2005.
Nevin told the Sunday World at the time he was attacked because the McGinleys wanted €10,000 back that they had paid the Nevins following an assault on his daughter.
There was a series of serious attacks linked to the feud at the time.
Meanwhile, police in the Netherlands are also hunting for an Irish travelling gang who injured a woman (62) after ramming her bicycle with their van after they defrauded her of thousands.
The incident happened on September 12 in Hilversum in North Holland. The men called to her home and said her dormer window needed essential work, costing thousands.
They then left with the cash and rammed into her bicycle leaving the woman with minor injuries.
Source: Irish News