herald

Monday 18 December 2017

He duped friends and blew money on a lavish life

Businessman Breifne O'Brien (51), of Monkstown in Dublin, who yesterday (Wed.) was jailed for seven years for the theft of sums totaling around €11m from five people between 2006 and 2008.
Pic: Courtpix
Businessman Breifne O'Brien (51), of Monkstown in Dublin, who yesterday (Wed.) was jailed for seven years for the theft of sums totaling around €11m from five people between 2006 and 2008. Pic: Courtpix

HE had it all - a big house, fast car, the respect of his friends and a jet-setting lifestyle - but in the end greed was the undoing of scam artist Breifne O'Brien.

The fraudster ran a pyramid scheme over 15 years after initially securing some legitimate success through a laundrette in Rathmines called Shirley's.

The people he duped were largely his friends and those who knew him best.

He first set about gaining their trust and would promise returns on what appeared to be low-risk investments.

In one case he stole €2.1m from Evan Newall, a businessman from Rathgar, Dublin, who before he was scammed helped O'Brien with advice and acted as a kind of mentor when he set up Shirley's.

Daniel Maher knew O'Brien for 25 years when it emerged that an investment he had made with the fraudster had disappeared.

He was brought in by O'Brien on an alleged property deal in Paris which did not exist.

Tipperary dairy farmer Louis Dowley met O'Brien through a mutual friend from secondary school. O'Brien admitted to stealing €4m from him.

Mr Dowley was asked to invest in a UK shopping centre that was in 2003 still under construction.

This was the first of a number of investment "opportunities" that was offered to Mr Dowley and his brother Robert by O'Brien after he gained their trust. However, not a cent went into a legitimate deal.

O'Brien spent the money on a luxurious life for himself and his wife, Fiona Nagle.

At one point he bought her an Audi Q7 4x4 (inset), which she kept at their exclusive home in Silchester Road, Glenageary.

He spend his ill-gotten gains on activities including throwing parties in the garden of the palatial property.

He also enjoyed jet-setting, particularly skiing trips around Europe.

hnews@herald.ie

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