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Smishing is a type of scam which sees someone use a text message to trick targeted recipients into clicking a link Alamy Stock Photo

Man (22) avoids prison term for role in €16,000 text message 'smishing' scam

The court heard the text message looked genuine, and when the link was clicked on, it opened a page that looked like an online banking page.

A YOUNG MAN has avoided a prison term for his role in a €16,000 “smishing” scam.

Smishing is a type of scam which sees someone use a text message to trick targeted recipients into clicking a link.

They often claim to be from banks, post offices or delivery companies.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Adrian Stralynski (22) of Glen Easton Close, Leixlip, Co Kildare, pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering of €13,100 between 31 July and 4 August, 2021.

He has 13 previous convictions, including convictions for possession of drugs, assault, public order and road traffic offences.

There is a co-accused in this case who has taken a trial date.

Passing sentence today, Judge Orla Crowe said she had no doubt it was very stressful for the injured party in the case.

Judge Crowe said that Stralynski got himself into a lot of trouble as a child, and it was concerning that he was still using drugs.

The judge noted a number of mitigating factors, including that Stralynski had entered an early guilty plea, had not come to any adverse attention since this offence, made admission to the gardai and was very young at the time.

Judge Crowe said Stralynski “seems to have turned a corner”, and the court would give him a chance.

She sentenced him to 18 months in prison but suspended it in full for two years.

Garda Sergeant Patrick O’Gorman told Aoife McNickle, BL, prosecuting, that he met with the injured party, Aidan Hall, in August 2021.

Mr Hall told gardaí that he had received a text message late at night from what he believed was Bank of Ireland, informing him that there had been a log-in to his account and instructing that if this log-in had not been by him, to click the link contained in the text message.

The court heard that the message looked genuine, and Mr Hall clicked on the link, which opened a page that looked like his online banking page.

He then logged into his online banking and entered a verification code.

Everything looked fine with his online banking, and Mr Hall went to bed.

The following day he tried to log back into his online banking but was locked out.

He contacted the Bank of Ireland, who told him that three withdrawals had been made in the sums of €7000, €4,500 and €4,500.

Gda Sgt O’Gorman said that Bank of Ireland was in a position to recall all the money and return it to Mr Hall.

The court heard that the money had been transferred into another Irish bank account and then a lesser amount of €13,100 onto a third account.

One of these bank accounts was linked to Stralynski.

The court heard that gardaí went to the home of Stralynski where he told gardaí: “I remember it. Me and my friend were acting stupid at the time.”

He said during an interview that he went over to the house of a male and gave him his phone, and he was told that he would get €500 if he allowed his bank account to be used.

Gda Sgt O’Gorman agreed with Simon Matthews, BL, defending, that once his client was approached, he made an immediate admission and set out all that he had done.

The garda agreed with counsel that Stralynski said he had been high at the time and was talked into doing it.

He further agreed that he had not come to the attention of gardaí since this offence in 2021 and that Stralynski was not the mastermind behind this, but he did help facilitate it.

Mr Matthews said his client was not responsible for sending the text message, and this was done by a third party.

Counsel said his client had issues with alcohol and cannabis in the past.

He said he has not come to garda attention since this offence, and he has matured in life and is moving on past the criminality in his younger years.

He asked the court to take into account the early guilty plea, the admission of guilt and the genuine remorse that he has shown.