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Father of one accused of €190k international invoice re-direct fraud

It is alleged four stolen foreign ID cards were used to open bank accounts.

Image: PA

A FATHER-OF-one has been charged over a €190,000 invoice redirect fraud targeting firms from Hong Kong, Finland and the United States.

Steven Sylvester, 27, originally from Nigeria but with an address at The Alley Apartments, Fairgreen Street, in Naas, Co. Kildare, was arrested during a fraud investigation by officers from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB).

He appeared before Judge Paula Murphy at Dublin District Court today. He faces five counts of money laundering, four charges for handling stolen ID cards, one count of using a false passport to open a bank account and another for attempted deception, from 2018 to 2020.

Detective Garda Angela Gavin told the court Mr Sylvester made no reply when charged.

She objected to bail citing the seriousness of the case and flight risk concerns.

She told the court it was alleged the money laundering charges related to invoice redirect frauds.

The court heard that the sums totalled about €190,000.

The money was dispersed through transfers and withdrawals. Phones and documents were seized, the court heard.

The GNECB detective did not agree with the defence that Mr Sylvester was couch-surfing at the apartment in Naas where other people also lived.

Four stolen foreign ID cards were used to open bank accounts, it was alleged.

Detective Garda Gavin said there were doubts over his identity.

Mr Sylvester, who was on social welfare, came to Ireland six years ago to seek asylum. He had a child with his partner who lived in Dublin

His girlfriend’s father told the court he would stand bail and he had known the accused for several years. He said Mr Sylvester was a good father and part of their family, and he could move in.

Defence counsel Karl Monahan said his client’s identity has been accepted by authorities in Ireland.

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Mr Sylvester would abide by conditions including one compelling him to come to a garda station within 30 minutes of being contacted, the barrister submitted.

He said if his client faces trial in the circuit court he could spend over 18 months in custody on remand awaiting trial.

Judge Murphy granted bail in his own bond of €5,000 of which he must lodge €2,000. An independent surety must have €15,000 available in order for Mr Sylvester to be released, she ordered.

Once bail is taken up he must obey a curfew, stay away from all ports and airports, surrender his passport and travel documents, reside at his partner’s address in Dublin, sign on daily at Kevin Street Garda station, and be ready to report to gardai within 30 minutes of being contacted by phone.

He was remanded in custody with consent to bail on these terms and will face his next hearing at Cloverhill District Court on March 25 next.

Directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions have to be obtained.

About the author:

Tom Tuite

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