Thu, 08 Jul, 2021 – 06:30 Noel Baker
Keith Flynn is edging towards freedom after the convicted fraudster was moved to Shelton Abbey open prison in recent days, less than a year into his four-year jail sentence.
The former solicitor, 46, was jailed last February along with his wife, 37-year-old Lyndsey Clarke, having pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud.
The Cork-based couple had run what a court heard was “an identity factory”, through which they secured loans under false identities totaling €469,000, causing a loss to various financial institutions of more than €390,000. As many as nine actual PPS numbers, acquired for as little as €100 from people who were homeless, were used as part of the elaborate fraud.
Wigs, disguises, and a tell-tale misspelling
In addition to the extraordinary range of false identities created by the couple, they also wore wigs and disguises — both at ATMs and in-branch — and had a detailed system of forwarding mail.
The crimes were detected only after a member of Bank of Ireland’s group financial crime unit detected a spelling mistake common to a number of supporting financial documents across unconnected accounts. The spelling mistake — ‘Meet the teak’, rather than ‘Meet the team’ — was on a fake, template phone bill the couple had downloaded from the internet.
At the time of detection, Clarke was renting a property on Blarney St in Cork, while Flynn was renting at Altus Apartments in Sunday’s Well. The couple had worked together at Keith Flynn and Co Solicitors, which had offices in Cork and Dublin.
Mr Flynn, originally from Ballintemple in Cork, was sentenced to four years at Cork Circuit Court in February, backdated to last October when he first entered custody.
Move to open prison in recent days
It has now emerged that in recent days he moved from Cork Prison to Shelton Abbey in Co Wicklow, an open, low-security prison for males aged 19 years and over who are regarded as requiring lower levels of security. It has extensive grounds and a working farm.
The Irish Examiner understands that he was moved there last weekend and that it was due to sentence progression and the fact that Flynn — who is also a trained chef — had proved a model prisoner during his stay in Cork.
With 25% remission, the original four-year sentence was unlikely to be served in full, and it is understood that Flynn’s move to Shelton Abbey will not expedite his sentence, but does allow for more training and education options.
Shelton Abbey has an operational capacity of 115 prisoners but as of this week had 109 inmates. Prisoners can be moved back to other jails for any infractions but, ordinarily, it can mark the last stop before ultimate release back into society.
There are no additional visitation rights for those at Shelton Abbey, however, and face-to-face visits are currently not possible due to Covid-19 restrictions. The Irish Prison Service is undertaking a vaccination programme on a facility-by-facility basis.
Clarke still in Limerick Prison
Lyndsey Clarke received a two-year prison sentence in February and is still in Limerick Prison.
Last February, Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said that to explain the difference in how the parties were treated at sentencing it could be stated that it allowed for the differences in the personal circumstances of the two accused. Dodgy wigs and spelling mistakes: How the Cork grifters were caught out