herald

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Woman avoids prison in €9k scam

Agata Pracz received a suspended sentence
Agata Pracz received a suspended sentence

A woman who posed as a UN diplomat and took nearly €9,000 from a Japanese woman in Dublin Airport has been given a suspended three-year sentence.

Agata Pracz (39) from Swords, Co Dublin pleaded guilty to dishonestly inducing Yumi Takekoshi to hand over €8,990 on July 15, 2014 by promising her access to a container filled with cash.

Garda Enda Ledwith previously told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that Ms Takekoshi, a 58-year-old Tokyo woman, was contacted through social media site, Linkedin, by a woman purporting to a be a "two-star US general" based in Dublin Airport. The 'general' told Ms Takekoshi a container filled with currency to the value of €6.8million was at a bonded warehouse in Dublin and that she would give Ms Takekoshi access to it for the sum of €8,990.

Suspicious

As a result, Ms Takekoshi booked a flight and flew into Dublin airport on July 15, 2014 where she met a woman who claimed to be a UN diplomat.

"That woman was actually the accused," Gda Ledwith said.

Pracz took Ms Takekoshi to a bar in Dublin Airport and took the money from her, before promising to call her with details of the container full of cash. However, Ms Takekoshi became suspicious and took a taxi to the Japanese embassy, which contacted the gardai.

Pracz, a Polish national, was arrested on the M1 motorway some days after this incident when gardai recognised her car from airport CCTV footage.

She claimed she met a man named 'James' of Nigerian or Ghanaian background in a pub who organised the deal and she was just the "cash collector", Gda Ledwith said.

Gardai recovered just over €4,000 from Pracz's home.

Sentencing Pracz yesterday, Judge Patrick McCartan said it was "difficult to believe" Pracz had met a man she didn't know in a pub and agreed to get involved in the scam, and that he believed Pracz was the recipient of "100 per cent" of the money.

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