Supporting Local News

Insurance conman targeted Brazilian community in Galway


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Insurance conman targeted Brazilian community in Galway Insurance conman targeted Brazilian community in Galway

A 31-year-old man who sold fake car insurance policies to members of the Brazilian community in Galway has received a 16-month prison sentence.

Cesar Fenandes Borges Filho, a father of one with an address at 9 Estuary Wood, Ferrybank, Co Waterford and formerly of St Mary’s Hill, Edenderry, Co Offaly pleaded guilty to four counts of making gain or causing loss by deception contrary to Section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act.

He also admitted making a threat to kill or cause serious harm to a woman.

The charges arise from offences committed by Borges Filho in Galway on various dates between June 2018 and March 2019.

At Galway Circuit Court Court, Sgt Ronan Mahon said two of the victims in the case were siblings and the rest were co-workers at a business premises in Galway City.

The total loss to the victims for the money given to the Borges Filho was €7,198.

Sgt Mahon agreed with prosecuting counsel, Conall MacCarthy BL, that due to linguistic reasons, the victims had found it difficult to take out insurance policies.

The court heard that one of the victims put his co-workers in touch with the accused who supplied fake insurance certificates and discs, purporting to be from Axa Insurance.

Sgt Mahon agreed with Mr MacCarthy that the accused had “no connection, good, bad or indifferent” with Axa and had no connection whatsoever with the insurance industry. A representative from Axa was present in court for the sentencing hearing.

Sgt Mahon said the issue initially came to light when one of the victims, Francys Israel Rodrigues, was detected driving without insurance.

When the matter came before the district court, Mr Rodrigues was given time to obtain insurance. Sgt Mahon said gardaí later sought further time to investigate the matter after the victim produced a suspected false insurance certificate.

Another victim, the court heard, discovered the policy was not legitimate, when she contacted Axa after cracking her windshield.

Sgt Mahon agreed with counsel that “this was a detailed and complex investigation”.

The court heard also of a threat made by the accused to a woman who rang him looking for her money back.

Sgt Mahon said that during the video call, Borges Filho pointed his phone at a “pistol” that was in the pants of a person standing beside him.

“He said ‘this is what I’ve got for you’,” Sgt Mahon said. The victim took a screenshot of the firearm which helped substantiate her allegation.

The court heard Borges Filho was arrested in March 2021 following search of a property that involved members of the Garda Armed Support Unit.

Sgt Mahon said the accused was “more fulsome in his cooperation” as details of the investigation were put to him.

In his victim statement, Israel Rodrigues said the fraud led to the loss of his vehicle and a financial loss that meant he had to move to Portugal for work.

“My desire has always been to live in Ireland, but this experience has seriously compromised my ability to live my dream,” he added.

Another victim ended up with a conviction for no insurance arising from his use of the fake policy supplied by Borges Filho.

Defence barrister, Robert J Crowley BL, told the court his client is fully aware of the “significant impact” caused by his offending and had the sum of €5,000 has a token of remorse.

“His behaviour was totally out of order and illegitimate,” counsel added.

Mr Crowley said his client was 16 when he moved from Brazil to Ireland and had always worked.

He asked the court to take into account the value of his client’s guilty plea, expression of remorse, and good record since 2021.

Judge Brian O’Callaghan said the court accepted Borges Filho is now remorseful, but showed no remorse when he threatened one of the victims. He said the accused deceived people who were under pressure to work and support their families.

One of the victims had to leave Ireland to gain work and another ended up with a criminal conviction.

Judge O’Callaghan said this was an offence committed on the basis of “full time criminal greed” and was “persistent” in nature. He noted that gardaí had put a “serious amount of work into the investigation”.

“It is the court’s view that a custodial sentence is warranted,” he added, imposing concurrent sentences of 18 months, with the final two months suspended.

More like this:

Sign Up To get Weekly Sports UPDATES

Go Up