GAA star confronted by ‘angry’ donors fooled by alleged cancer scam as Garda probe ramps up
‘A handful became angry and fronted him up and eventually got their money back’
Up to 100 people are believed to have been hit for cash by a GAA legend’s alleged cruel cancer scam, we can reveal.
Many were prominent names within the Gaelic football and hurling world who knew the sports star on the celebrity charity golf and speaking circuit, along with some of their personal friends.
It’s believed he was still making begging phone calls up until four weeks ago even though gardai had begun a major probe into the scandal.
The sports star alleged to have claimed he was suffering from cancer.
It is understood the alleged cancer fraud had been going on for up to eight years. Many people with the kind of cancer he allegedly had die within a year.
We have learned he telephoned one well known former county player and asked him for €15,000 euros to help pay for so-called cancer treatment he was having in America.
The sports star even named the hospital where he was supposed to have treatment.
However the county player became suspicious and telephoned another GAA household name for advice.
He was then informed to keep his money and that many other GAA people had been stung by the same false sob story.
He allegedly took €5,000 off a GAA team kit man several months ago and also allegedly tried to hit an elderly couple in the Limerick area last year.
Again, they telephoned someone who knows him to see how sick he really was. He advised them to keep their cash.
One man who said he gave him €10,000 and never got a penny back said: “He had been a friend for years.
“I honestly believe he has tapped up at least 100 people if not more.
“Many people within the GAA and business world were too embarrassed to talk about it but one by one, with the gardai involved, they are starting to come forward and reach out.
Another GAA insider who turned him down said: “I know of at least 20 different people who fell for his sad story and most of them are members of the GAA family. But I know in my heart this is only the tip of the iceberg.
“They are absolutely shocked by what happened. A handful became angry and fronted him up and eventually got their money back, a year or two later.
“This has been going on for a few years now. He uses the same modus operandi and asks for a figure, quite often it is €15,000, and rolls out the cancer and stem cell treatment story.
“Many people who gave him money are just too embarrassed to speak publicly and have just written it off, and vowed never to have anything to do with him again.
“People are now queuing up to make complaints and statements to the gardai.
“He had a whole list of different American hospitals where he had treatment.
It is understood the sports star even approached his own County Board looking for cash.
He also told them he was very sick with cancer and needed the cash.
However his local GAA Board turned him down after hearing on the grapevine after making discreet enquiries.
Gardai are now investigating if he was using the cancer cash to fund his lavish lifestyle.
A Garda source said: “We will go through every complaint until we get to the bottom of this. Many people are very upset. The investigation could take several months but we have a full team working on it both locally and nationally.
“We are looking at allegations of fraud and the sums involved are ‘substantial.'”
The sport star himself has now gone to ground and is not responding to phone calls.