A married couple who are former solicitors created 60 false identities, donned disguises and paid homeless people for their PPS numbers in order to defraud banks of several hundred thousand euro, Cork Circuit Criminal has heard.
Keith Flynn (46) and Lyndsey Clarke (37), of Blarney Street in Cork city, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud, arising out of an 18-month garda probe.
Detective Garda Alan McCarthy told the court that the pair created 80 fake accounts using 60 false identities in order to defraud Bank of Ireland, AIB, Ulster Bank and a number of credit unions by obtaining personal bank loans dishonestly.
He said the criminal activity began in January 2017.
The banks and credit unions are at a loss of €394,804 following the criminal activity.
Prosecuting Barrister Siobhán Lankford SC said the pair were in effect running an "identity factory".
Det-Gda McCarthy said the couple applied for loans using fake driving licences obtained online, fake bank statements and fake payslips. They even paid members of the homeless community for the their PPS numbers in order to use them in their criminal activity.
In September 2017 the Financial Crime Unit in Bank of Ireland became suspicious of activities in six accounts and contacted gardaí.
An investigation was subsequently launched and in July of 2018 a search was carried out at the couple's Cork apartment.
Gardaí recovered laptops, a locked safe and wigs used for disguises when they went to banks and ATMs.
Over €92,000 was recovered from the safe which was opened after Ms Clarke and Mr Flynn voluntarily handed over a key.
When gardaí opened the safe they also found 21 fake Irish driving licences, 19 fake bank cards and 16 Credit Union books in different names.
Det-Gda McCarthy said the duo had opened 19 fake accounts with Bank of Ireland, 19 fake credit union accounts, 19 fake accounts with AIB and three fake accounts with Ulster Bank. Loans were approved with all these institutions.
They made admissions of guilt in garda interviews in August of 2018. They said they were motivated purely by financial gain.
Det-Gda McCarthy said Flynn had two children from a previous marriage, which had broken down, in addition to his young child with Ms Clarke. He opened his first law practice in 2006 in Cork before opening a second in Dublin in 2012.
He said Ms Clarke was the mother of two children, one from a previous relationship and her three-month-old child with Mr Flynn.
Mr Flynn was remanded in custody until Friday for sentencing while Ms Clarke was given bail until then in order to make arrangements for her children.