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Pyramid Scheme

An alleged €178k fraudster told duped investors he'd 'flip cars for profit'

Eamon Shield has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

TWO KERRY MEN have told a trial that a man accused of setting up a “pyramid scheme” told them they would double their investments in two months.

Eamon Shield (45) is alleged to have stolen €178,000 from 12 people by telling them he could “flip” cars repossessed by the banks at a significant mark up.

Shane Costelloe SC, prosecuting, told a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury that this was a fabrication and there was no business.

“All he was doing was getting in more investors to pay off the other ones,” counsel said.

He said it was colloquially known as a pyramid scheme and that as further investors pumped money into it the accused would fob off existing investors with small sums and tell them the money was coming.

Shield of Weston Meadows, Weston Park, Lucan, Co Dublin has pleaded not guilty to 15 counts of theft and another 12 counts of making a gain by deception between June 2011 and February 2012.

A trial began on Monday but an issue arose with a juror and a new jury had to be sworn in. It will continue in evidence before Judge Patricia Ryan and the jury tomorrow and is expected to run for two weeks.

David O’Grady testified that he responded to a newspaper advertisement seeking investors and spoke to a man who gave the name Edward Shield. Weeks later he and his friend Malcolm Griffin met the accused by arrangement in the Radisson Hotel outside Limerick city.

O’Grady said that during this meeting Shield seemed very professional, self assured and “cool, calm and collected”. He said Shield told him he would get a 100% return on his investment within 60 days.

He said he was told the money would be used as capital to buy cars that had been repossessed by banks so as to sell them on at a profit.

He told Ciaran O’Loughlin SC, defending, that he didn’t remember ever discussing the possibility of this 100% return not happening or that it couldn’t be guaranteed.

He agreed Shield did not push or goad him into investing and that the attitude was that it was up to him to decide. Both men agreed to invest €3,000 each and met Shield a second time to sign a contract.

O’Grady said that he did receive two payments of €200 and €500 but nothing else.

Griffin said that after the two month period he rang the accused several times and his calls were answered “maybe twice”. He said he was given a bunch of excuses and told the payments were delayed but were coming.

Griffin said he then went to gardaí in Listowel to make a complaint.

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