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Monday 29 May 2023 Dublin: 8°C
# Investigation
Nearly 80 students allege they were conned out of cash by international travel agency
Gardaí in Dublin are investigating.

AROUND 80 English language students have come forward to gardaí to allege they were scammed by a travel agency in what is now expected to be a million euro fraud investigation, The Journal has learned. 

The travel agency, which had been operating in Ireland for a number of years, acted as an intermediary for prospective English language students travelling to Ireland and offered a range of services including securing visas, registering students for classes and finding accommodation for them. 

However, the directors of the company have left Ireland with money belonging to a significant number of students. 

Gardaí based at Mountjoy station in the north of the capital are investigating the alleged criminality. The Journal reported earlier this year that €250,000 was obtained from the students by the company in question. That figure is now estimated to be higher. 

However, it is understood that the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) is also being briefed on the investigation. 

Earlier this week, several students arrived at Mountjoy station, many of them carrying what they described as evidence relating to fraudulent behaviour by the travel agency. 

TheJournal has seen several email and text chains between one of the directors of this firm and his customers. 

Many had used their life savings to travel to Ireland to learn English and work here but when they arrived at their college, they were informed they had no record of their enrolment. 

Mexican Senator Rogelio Israel Zamora Guzmán of Mexico City is also working with the English Language Students Union (ELSU) in relation to the investigation. 

Gardaí continue to work with their Mexican counterparts in relation to this investigation and confirmed to The Journal that the probe is still ongoing. 

A spokesman said: “Gardaí are investigating a number of incidents of fraud that occurred in the Dublin area between March 2020 and June 2021.

“No arrests have been made, investigations are ongoing.”

Attempts are being made by the ELSU to communicate with the owner of the firm at the centre of the allegations and to bring him from Mexico to Ireland to cooperate with the investigation. 

So far those attempts have proven unsuccessful.