Two Galway brothers face sentence later this month for stealing over €205,000 from a vulnerable old age pensioner by carrying out bogus repairs to her home over a two-year period.
According to today’s Irish Thomas Coen (46), with addresses at Corrib Park, Newcastle, Galway and Old Monivea Road, Ballybrit, Galway, along with his younger brother, Micheal Coen (38), Corrib Park, Newcastle, Galway, were both arrested and charged in 2017 with 61 counts of theft involving large sums of cash taken from the woman between June 2014 and November 2015.
Prosecuting barrister, Conor Fahy BL, told their sentence hearing before Galway Circuit Criminal Court on Wednesday that Thomas Coen pleaded guilty in June last year to the first thirty charges on dates between June 17 and August 30, 2014.
His younger brother pleaded guilty to eight of the remaining 31 charges involving the theft of cash from the woman at her home on dates between September, 2014 and November, 2015.
Both accepted over €200,000 had been stolen but said they had taken just €80,000 for themselves and that other people were behind the scam as well.
Garda David Foley, prosecuting, said Thomas Coen operated a home and garden maintenance company which he still runs, carrying out tree-topping, power-washing and general maintenance for homeowners.
He said Coen knocked on the then 77-year-old, reclusive woman’s door in 2013 and offered to do work around her house.
She declined, but he called back a year later and she accepted his help then. He started calling to her home regularly between June and November 2015, initially charging her €200 to €300, but as time went by, the price rose considerably into the thousands, Garda Foley said.
He employed his younger brother, Michael, and others to carry out work and both brothers would call on an almost daily basis, collecting payments from the woman.
Gardai were alerted in November 2015, that “vast sums of money” were leaving the woman’s bank account and going to the brothers.
With her permission, they examined her bank accounts and tallied the amounts withdrawn with amounts the woman had recorded in an accounting journal, each time the brother’s were paid.
The court heard there had been 61 transactions between June 14 and November 15, amounting to €205,230.
Garda Foley got a quantity surveyor to assess the work the brother’s had carried out at the woman’s property and he valued it at €10,063.
Mr Fahy said the victim was in frail health and he would need time to obtain a victim impact statement from her.
Judge Rory McCabe agreed to adjourn finalisation of sentence to July 23.