Gardaí don’t consider GAA legend at centre of alleged cancer scam a flight risk amid investigation
The investigation team have been inundated with new cases
Gardai investigating a GAA legend over allegations of fraud and deception say it could take several weeks before they are in a position to charge him.
They have allayed fears of several complainants that he may try to flee the country and say they know where he is at all times and they don’t regard him as a “flight risk” at this stage.
The investigation team have been inundated with new cases against him since details of the scandal were disclosed last weekend.
A source said: “A load more people have come forward and made new allegations as a result of the publicity. They are no longer embarrassed because they know loads of others where caught by the same scam.
“We are talking about a huge amount of ordinary people who were stung and also a very substantial amount of money.
“Although there are a handful of people who gave him big six-figure amounts that have come forward, there are smaller donors from all over the country who gave him anywhere from between two to five thousands euros,” they alleged.
“The majority of these people did it out of the goodness of their heart because they genuinely thought he was seriously ill with cancer and wanted to help save his life,” the source claimed.
“These same people couldn’t afford it and could really do with their savings back now in the middle of a cost of living crisis.
“They feel really angry and betrayed. He was still trying to tap people up for money only a few weeks ago even though he knew we were investigating him.”
The initial estimate of the sum involved was €1 million but now it is believed to be much higher. The whole saga has been going on for over a decade.
The player allegedly claimed to be suffering from a form of blood cancer and claimed he needed the money for stem cell treatment in the USA.
One man who gave him €10,000 said: “The whole cancer story is an absolute and utter lie. He made it all up to secure money under false pretences. The man was a very good friend of mine and he duped me. I like everyone else who gave him the cash, acted in good faith.
We have seen text messages the player allegedly sent last summer to a businessman he’d met on the GAA golf circuit and gives an insight into how he operated. The man concerned didn’t give him any cash in the end.
The legend asked him not to say anything to a mutual friend they had and that he was trying to get back for transplant to Seattle and to keep it between themselves.
The player allegedly told how he asked five people in his home county for help and they couldn’t do it. He also asked them to keep it quiet but all of a sudden it got out there that he was asking for money and he had to let it go.
He allegedly claimed he missed three transplants and was a bit down over it but he’d have to wait until he has the funds.
He also claimed the cost of the treatment was €60k in total and that he had €35k already sent and was due to travel the next Saturday. He said he was normally covered by the elite sports insurance in the USA but not this time.
A few weeks later the player allegedly texted the same person and claimed he was on pain management at the moment but doing ok.
The businessman concerned had a number of friends who were hit by the star for large amounts of money. A number of them have now made statements of complaint to the Gardai.