herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

€250k conman's wife, two fiancees and a girlfriend living in Poland

A maRRIED father-of-three jailed for a major fraud was engaged to two other women and has had a child with a girlfriend in Poland.

Conor Brannigan (41), from Stafford Hall, Nenagh, Co Tipperary, admitted defrauding his potential brother-in-law of €250,000 in a land deal.

He pleaded guilty to three separate charges of defrauding vet James Hoare, of Rooskey, Co Roscommon on dates in 2010 and 2011.

Det Gda David McDonnell told Roscommon Circuit Criminal Court that Brannigan met Mr Hoare through the vet's sister, who was his girlfriend.

At various times, Brannigan told Mr Hoare that he was an accountant used to acting in land deals and later stated that he was a forensic accountant acting for a London-based venture capital company dealing in distressed properties.

Mr Hoare engaged him to buy a plot of land in Roscommon and paid over three sums totalling €250,000. The money was subsequently transferred to a bank account controlled by Brannigan.

Mr Hoare had to get a loan of €219,000 to fund the purchase.

In late 2010, Mr Hoare tried to contact Brannigan to confirm the sale had gone through, only to be told that he was in hospital and had not completed the deal.

Property prices were falling and Brannigan felt that the price of the land could be re-negotiated, Mr Hoare was told.

Brannigan was also talking about his own property deals, which included setting up shops in Belfast and Dublin.

In January 2011, a new price of €185,000 was suggested and later that year Brannigan became engaged to Mr Hoare's sister.

The vet received a call in October 2011 to say Ulster Bank had possession of the land and would sell it for €165,000.

But some weeks later, Brannigan advised Mr Hoare that the Commercial Division of the High Court was overseeing the sale.

Mr Hoare made his own 
enquiries and discovered a number of outstanding 
judgments against Brannigan.

psychiatric

He e-mailed Brannigan asking for his money back and his sister then told him that he had "come clean" to her and the money was gone.

Det McDonnell confirmed that Mr Hoare was out of pocket for €250,000.

In a statement to gardai, Brannigan admitted paying stg£39,000 for a Land Rover while a sum of €110,000 was transferred to a Polish bank.

"I can't explain it. I was living four separate lives. I was married with three children, had two partners and was engaged to them and a girlfriend and child in Poland," he said.

Brannigan was admitted to a psychiatric unit in Ennis where he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

"I am totally aware of how lives have been affected by my actions," he told gardai.

Judge Tony Hunt sentenced Brannigan to two years in prison, but suspended 12 months.

hnews@herald.ie

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