The Elites of Irish Society, or Maybe Not?

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Former solicitors charged with trying to defraud banks

Awaiting trial: Former solicitors Keith Flynn and Lyndsey Clarke are charged with defrauding a number of financial institutions. PHOTO: CORK COURTS LIMITED

Two former solicitors will face trial on indictment over an alleged conspiracy to defraud a number of major Irish financial institutions.

The defendants – one of whom is an unsuccessful former Fine Gael election candidate – appeared before Judge Olann Kelleher at Cork District Court. They appeared on a charge which arose from a Garda investigation into the attempted fraud of sums amounting to hundreds of thousands of euro from various financial institutions.

Keith Flynn (46), of Blarney Street, Cork, and Lyndsey Clarke (37), also of Blarney Street, Cork, appeared as gardaí confirmed the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had ruled that the matter be dealt with on indictment before Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Both face a single charge that they conspired with each other between dates in 2016 and 2018 to defraud a number of financial institutions including banks.

Judge Kelleher remanded both to appear again before Cork District Court on September 2.

Both were remanded on bail.

The brief hearing only took a few minutes and both defendants sat beside each other in court. Neither spoke during the hearing, apart from confirming their identities.

They face a charge that between January 1, 2016, and June 26, 2018, they conspired with each other to defraud Ulster Bank, AIB, Bank of Ireland and other financial institutions by creating false identities to be used for the purpose of obtaining credit dishonestly.

The potential effect of this was to cause financial loss to the named institutions involved.

Each faces a single charge of conspiracy to defraud over the specified period.

Sergeant Gearóid Davis confirmed that the DPP had instructed the matter be dealt with before a judge and jury in the circuit court. The court was told that, should the defendants so choose, they also had the option of going forward for the matter to be dealt with on a signed plea of guilty in the circuit court.

Graham Hyde, a solicitor who is representing both defendants, applied for free legal aid for his clients.

He said Ms Clarke was on a Government back-to-work scheme and was only earning €217 a week.

The former solicitor is a mother of two.

Mr Flynn is now working in the catering industry as a chef.

He is earning around €500 weekly but was supporting a young family of four children.

In light of the submissions on the income status of the two defendants, Judge Kelleher granted free legal aid to both.

Ms Clarke became a solicitor in 2012 and unsuccessfully contested the local government elections for Fine Gael in Cork six years ago. She ran in the Cork North Central ward of the Cork City Council elections but was not in contention for a seat.

Mr Flynn was a solicitor since 2006 and, for a time, was based in Dublin.

Both are former solicitors who practised with Keith Flynn & Co, Capel Building, St Mary’s Abbey, Dublin.

The matter was adjourned by Judge Kelleher to September 2 to allow for the service of the book of evidence by gardaí.

It is hoped that the book of evidence in relation to the matter will be ready for service by that date on both defendants.

The next sessions of Cork Circuit Criminal Court are scheduled for October.

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