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19 Jan 2022

Offaly man who posed as property agent facing jail

Offaly man who posed as property agent facing jail

Tullamore Court House

A Tullamore man has been given until July 27 next to pay full compensation to those he defrauded out of substantial sums of money or he will face six years in prison.

At Tuesday's (June 29) circuit court, Judge Keenan Johnson said he was running out of patience with Laurence Murphy, 39, Clonminch, Tullamore, who posed as an agent for Savills auctioneers and took money from victims who had been misled into believing they were buying land which wasn't in his remit to sell.

Money was exchanged and Savills headed receipts were handed over to the victims. However, the money went into Mr Murphy's private bank account in AIB.

Mr Murphy entered a guilty plea in November 2018. Sentencing was adjourned to allow compensation to be paid. A number of proposals were put forward, one being a loan against his mother's home.

A planning application was lodged for a house on a site to the rear of the family home. Offaly county council sought further information on the application which was not forthcoming and the application was closed. A fresh application has now been lodged. At yesterday's sitting of the court Mr Murphy's mother Barbara Murphy took the stand. She said the reason the first application was not pursued was that her son said he had money. She said she is confident this newest application will be granted and will cover the cost of all the compensation.

A document was also handed to Judge Keenan Johnson yesterday by defence counsel Ken Fogarty SC which proposed to raise significant funding which would pay the entirety of compensation. The document claims Mr Murphy has a shareholding in a company which if released will allow all the victims to receive the money owed to them. However, the company has not yet been floated.

Judge Keenan Johnson told Mr Fogarty he was sick, sore, and tired of his client. He described him as a Walter Mitty character. ''I don't want any more paperwork. I want to see the colour of money,'' he said. Judge Johnson said the court had indulged the defendant long enough.

Detective Sgt Liam Lonergan described the document as an agreement about an agreement. Sgt Lonergan said there was no evidence Mr Murphy owns or has these shares. He said he checked a name and email address on the document but it was not available. Detective Sgt Lonergan described it as another kite being flown by Mr Murphy. He said the victims had accepted they were not going to get their money back.

Adjourning the case to July 27, Judge Keenan Johnson said he had extended as much latitude as he could in the case. He warned Mr Murphy if he has not paid full compensation to his victims by then he will go to prison. He has brought this on himself, he said.

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