Leitrim man jailed for six years for role in sophisticated van ‘cloning’ scam

A Leitrim man has been jailed for six years for his part in a van “cloning” scam which saw buyers defrauded of a total of nearly €50,000.

The sophisticated fraud involved vans which had been stolen in the UK being brought to Ireland where they were sold on to unwitting buyers.

Tom Reilly who previously had an address at Rosebank, Carrick-on-Shannon was sentenced for his role in the scam which was outlined at his sentencing hearing.

Detective Garda Seamus Wallace explained the complex fraud to Leitrim Circuit Court which involved vans that had been stolen in the UK being “cloned” and imported into this country.

He revealed how once a van was stolen the thieves would look for a similar one for sale and contact the owner purporting to be an interested buyer.

Having obtained details of the vehicle they would then approach the English licensing authority claiming to have bought the van in question and requesting the log book.

Once in receipt of same, the fraudsters would alter the stolen van to match the legitimate vehicle effectively “cloning” it for resale.

The detective gave details of ten vehicles which were suspected of being stolen and them shipped to Ireland where they were sold to unwitting buyers who were unaware of their origin.

In total motorists here lost €47,650 in ten transactions as all of the vans which ranged in price from €2,500 to €7,500 were seized by gardai and subsequently reverted to insurance companies,.

The court was told there was no suggestion the 50 year-old defendent who had previously pleaded guilty to handling stolen property was involved in the actual theft of the vehicles.

Judge John Alymer sentenced Reilly to six years in prison.]