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Ballyhaunis man jailed for attempting insurance fraud

Ballyhaunis man jailed for attempting €60,000 insurance fraud

A BALLYHAUNIS man who was found guilty of attempting to deceive Hibernian Insurance into paying him up to €60,000 by claiming his BMW was stolen was jailed for three years at last week’s sitting of Castlebar Circuit Court.
Gerard O’Boyle (34) of Carrowreagh, Ballyhaunis was described by Judge Tony Hunt of being a dishonest person who tried to ‘brazen it out’ by denying he did anything wrong and blame everyone else.
Mr O’Boyle was also found guilty of having a forged driving licence and using the licence to get insurance cover from Hibernian insurance.
The trial heard evidence from Sergeant Kieran McNicholas of Ballyhaunis garda station who explained that Mr O’Boyle reported his 2008 BMW stolen from his parents’ home. In a statement to the Gardaí, Mr O’Boyle said, “The car has just vanished off the face of the earth.”
However on November 12, 2008, Sgt McNicholas received information that the car was located in a quarry at the rear of his home and the following day he obtained a search warrant and after locating the car, arrested Mr O’Boyle.
During the trial last July Mr O’Boyle denied the claims and claimed that his ex-wife’s uncle had stolen the car and left it in a quarry, where it was subsequently discovered.
Under cross-examination, O’Boyle admitted that his financial situation was ‘up and down’, and he pointed out that his wife ‘was very demanding; she had expensive tastes’.
The trial also heard evidence from quarry workers who saw Mr O’Boyle walking down to his BMW car prior to the search warrant and a BMW expert gave evidence in relation to the car’s electronic key reading.
The prosecution said proved there were large discrepancies in the times and dates preceding the disappearance and discovery of the vehicle given by Mr O’Boyle.
The court heard that Mr O’Boyle, a former estate agent, had a number of previous convictions and had been disqualified from driving for road traffic offences.
During last weeks sentencing, Mr Alan Toal, counsel for Mr O’Boyle said the incident was a ‘comedy of errors’ but did not feel society would be best served by locking his client up. He suggested a ‘kick in the rear end’ in terms of community service would be more beneficial rather than burdening the taxpayer.
However, Judge Hunt said that the ‘reality of the case’ was instead of owning up that he had got into financial trouble and try and receive sympathy, Mr O’Boyle had tried to ‘brazen it out’ and point the finger of blame in every direction.
“He failed to face up to his actions and do the brave thing and put his hands up that he would have got credit for,” he said before adding that he got caught out by the technology in the ‘intelligent car keys’.
Judge Hunt imposed a three year sentence but suspended the final 18 months for 18 month post release.