herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Fraudster granny wanted by PSNI scams Irish town

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Undated handout photo issued by the Police Service of Northern Ireland of Julia Holmes who is on the run from police in Northern Ireland after jumping bail on fraud charges more than two years ago
Undated handout photo issued by the Police Service of Northern Ireland of Julia Holmes who is on the run from police in Northern Ireland after jumping bail on fraud charges more than two years ago

A 63-year-old grandmother who is being investigated by the FBI, the PSNI and An Garda Siochana for a series of frauds has continued her scam spree in a small town in the west of Ireland.

Julia Holmes, who is believed to have approximately 40 different aliases and more than 20 previous convictions, is wanted by the PSNI after going on the run in 2011 as she was due to stand trial on charges of fraud.

She had previously been deported back to Northern Ireland from the United States in 2006 after she was arrested in connection with a $500,000 property scam.

However, it has now been revealed that the "charming" con woman's last known address was in the Limerick town of Askeaton.

Known in the area as Julia Ruttle and Croen Ruttle, she is believed to have continued her fraudulent spree in the small rural town.

One local woman has claimed that her husband is owed more than €15,000 by Ms Holmes for renovation work he did on a house last summer.

"We have been caught for about €15,000 worth of materials and I would say in total there is about €50,000 to €60,000 outstanding on the house," the woman said.

Holmes also set up a company in the area called Irish Bee Sensation, which had proved very successful and even won various awards and prizes for the businesses success.

ceremony

The product picked up three awards at last year's Bia na hEireann food award ceremony, including a gold prize for the category of Pure Irish Honey.

A local businessman, who doesn't want to be named, explained how he is owed several thousand euro for work he did for her business last year.

"I collected a small payment off her in Kinsale. I asked her what her address was so I could call to her house. She said strictly no address. 'I'll meet you down town' she said. She was sitting at a bench and obviously had a wig on.

"She made no effort to hide it. Then she said straight out: 'I'm dying with cancer'. Naturally I felt awful. I was supposed to be getting a larger payment but when she started telling me about her chemo, I said 'don't worry'. She got me hook, line and sinker. I was totally fooled.

"Some things she would say might strike you as odd but then it would immediately go out of your head because she was confident and very believable."

A source in Limerick said that gardai are aware of several cases regarding alleged scams. However, the Herald understands that these may be treated as civil cases as opposed to incidents that involve any criminal wrongdoing.

The PSNI have confirmed that Holmes absconded in 2011 after being charged in relation to an £18,000 fraud. The police service is urging anyone with information to contact investigating detectives.

"Anyone who has been in contact with this woman, or thinks they know where she is now, is asked to contact detectives in Downpatrick," a spokesperson said.

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