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Long term consequences to student money laundering

By Brion Hoban

A judge presiding in the case of a student who recklessly allowed his bank account to be used for the transfer of fraudulently obtained funds has said that the very short term gain involved in this offending leads to “very long term consequences”.

Judge Melanie Greally was presiding over the case of Peredigha Amasuomo (21) when she said she hopes it is highlighted that this offending leaves you with a very significant conviction on your record at a very young age and that this is a “very significant impediment”.

Amasuomo with an address at Griffth Halls of Residence, Griffth College, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three counts of money laundering at unknown locations within the state, two occuring on November 14, 2019, and the third on November 21, 2019. He has no previous convictions.

Detective Garda Stephen Daly told Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting, that on the dates in November, three fraudulent payments were transferred from a bank in Puerto Rico into the bank account of Amasuomo.

Det Gda Daly said the bank in Puerto Rico informed AIB that the funds were fraudulent and theh had attempted to recall the funds, but could not as the funds had already been withdrawn.

The court heard that the total value of the funds transferred into the account was just over €6,000.

In interview with gardaí following his arrest, Amasuomo accepted it was his bank account, but maintained he had lost his ATM card, suggesting it was stolen and his PIN code had been scraped onto it in case he forgot.

Amasuomo denied being involved, but admitted there was money in the account that was not his.

Det Gda Daly agreed with Keith Spencer BL, defending, that his client is originally from Nigeria and since arriving in Ireland three years ago he initially worked and is now in his third year of a course studying business studies.

The detective agreed with counsel that when his client was asked why he did not tell the bank it was not his money, his client said he did not want to get involved. He agreed the accused entered his pleas on the basis that he was reckless.

Det Gda Daly agreed that there is at present an awareness campaign regarding the problem of students being targetted and asked to have money put into their account. He agreed a lot of the time students of international extraction are targetted and that the accused is one of those people.

Mr Spencer said young students on campus are targetted and that word is now filtering out that you cannot allow your account to be used in this way without questioning the origin of the money.

Counsel said people involved in these offences are generally recipients of a very small amount of money. He submitted that the “ultimate penalty” for this man will be his job opportunities being curtailed by this conviction.

Judge Greally said there was nothing in Amasuomo’s background that suggests this offence is anything other than “a very severe error of judgement”.

She said the funds in question were lost. She said the conviction for this offence will be an impediment for the accused man at least in the short to mid term.

Judge Greally sentenced Amasuomo to four months imprisonment, but suspended the sentence in its entirety on strict conditions.

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