Woman avoids prison in €9k scam
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.
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.