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'Naive' woman's account used for bogus rent scam

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Joanna Wolkowicz met fraudster via an online dating app

Joanna Wolkowicz met fraudster via an online dating app

Joanna Wolkowicz met fraudster via an online dating app

A "naive" young woman whose bank account was used as a vessel for the proceeds of an apartment rental scam has been given more time to repay the victims.

Mother-of-two Joanna Wolkowicz (28) admitted money laundering after thousands of euro were lodged in her account by people who were defrauded into paying for a bogus property booking.

Dublin District Court heard Wolkowicz had met a fraudster through an online dating app and "should have known better".

Judge Flann Brennan adjourned the case for payment of the compensation after hearing her co-accused had not been found.

Wolkowicz, of Silver Hill, Bundoran, Co Donegal, pleaded guilty to possession of criminal proceeds.

The court heard a couple were looking for accommodation in Dublin city centre and negotiated with a person who was not the accused.

They transferred €2,600 and €1,600 into an account whose number was given to them by the person they were dealing with.

Frozen

It transpired the accommodation was a false address that was not for rent.

The money was lodged in Wolkowicz's account and cash was withdrawn by another person, the court heard.

A total of €3,222 had since been frozen in her account and there was a shortfall of €978.

Defence barrister Lydia Daly said the accused needed time to pay the rest.

Wolkowicz, who is qualified in human resources, was on social welfare and looking for a job, Ms Daly said.

The court had heard Wolkowicz had no previous convictions and was cooperative.

It was an "unfortunate case of extreme naivety", Ms Daly said.

Wolkowicz had met a man on an online dating app, got into a relationship with him and became pregnant by him.

She was given fake details by this man "from the get-go" and he "subsequently vanished".

Wolkowicz had been suspicious of the origin of the money, "should have known better, should have known something untoward was going on" and should have made enquiries.