A Roscommon building firm was deceived into paying over €19,000 to a false bank account as part of a so called 'money mule' scam.
Two people were sentenced for their role in the invoice redirection scam at Roscommon Circuit Court this week
Detective Sgt David Bunn outlined the details of the incident which first came to Garda attention in August 2017 when a building firm based in west Roscommon received an email from a supplier with an attached invoice.
However, the text of the email suggested that that there was a problem with their regular bank account and to transfer the money to a different account.
A total of €19,482 was transferred to the alternative account but at the end of the month the supplier emailed again seeking payment from the building firm and it was then that Gardai were notified of the fraud.
Investigations discovered that the money had been transferred to an account linked to woman who was a student at GMIT and then subsequently transferred on to accounts outside of the country.
Gardai then discovered that a man in Dublin also had €5,000 of the money transferred through his account.
When Gardai arrested the female student, she made no admissions but the court did hear that she had been approached by someone who told her they needed the account in order to transfer money to Nigeria for a sick relative and she was afraid of the people behind the scam and was not paid for her involvement.
Her co-accused told Gardai he was paid between 200 and 300 euro to allow his account be used.
Judge Johnson warned firms that if companies get emails about bank accounts, they need to ring their creditors before transferring any money and so called 'money mule' scams were becoming more and more common.
He imposed a three year jail term on the Galway resident, suspended for six years but also ordered her to pay compensation of €9000, including €5,000 within a week of the court sitting, and four thousand euro in the next 12 months to the affected firm.
Her co-accused was given a two year jail term, suspended for five years, and also ordered to pay compensation of €6000, spread out over the next two years.