Why did the lawyers for “Walter Mitty” turn to crime?

The case of lawyers Keith Flynn and Lyndsey Clarke has left a lot of people scratching their heads.

The couple were jailed on Monday for a series of elaborate frauds in which they stole nearly € 400,000 from banks and credit unions to be cut down thanks to the vigilance of a Bank of Ireland official.

“What are the chances that two Walter Mitties like them will meet?” A woman asked as she reflected on the fact that Flynn, from a respectable middle-class family in Ballintemple, in the south of the city, and Clarke, a former local candidate for Fine Gael, have come together. turned to a life of crime.

The couple’s theft was reported by Alan Boland of the Financial Crime Unit of the Bank of Ireland.

Boland spotted a common misspelling of six accounts belonging to six different people. So he checked the IP data and listened to the recordings of the six bank calls. He noticed a similarity and realized that the bank was losing € 32,000 due to bad debts on loans, so he alerted Gardaí.

Detective Garda Alan McCarthy told the Cork Circuit Criminal Court that the couple created 80 fake accounts using 60 fake identities in order to defraud the three banks and 12 credit unions for sums, typically € 10,000 to € 12,000 , for a total of € 394,804.

Detective Garda McCarthy said the couple, who met eight years ago when Clarke went to work for Flynn at his law firm, applied for loans using fake driver’s licenses obtained online, from fake bank statements, fake pay slips and even paid homeless people for their PPS numbers to use in the scam.

Gardaí raided a luxury apartment Flynn was renting at Sunday’s Well in Cork in July 2018 and recovered laptops, wigs used as disguises when the duo visited banks and ATMs, 21 fake Irish driving license, 19 fake bank cards and 16 credit union pounds.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said it was a very elaborate and organized crime when he jailed Flynn for four years and Clarke for two years, the difference in terms being due to his “personal circumstances”.

‘Arrogance’

Although neither Flynn nor Clarke have had previous convictions, someone familiar with Flynn said she was not surprised to see him breaking the law, given a certain arrogance, evident even in high school in Canada. Rochestown College, Cork.

“He always had that arrogance about him, thought he was smarter than everyone else – I saw someone say all he wanted to do was never work and live a life of luxury , and it was perfect. “

They said Flynn’s parents “paid for him to take a cooking class at Ballymaloe and work as a chef for a while” before earning a law degree from the University of London.

Flynn established Keith Flynn & Company Solicitors in 2006 with offices on George’s Quay in Cork and Capel Street in Dublin. However, he seems to have made little impression on the legal scene in either city.

poet’s daughter

Clarke is the daughter of Cork songwriter and poet Mary Buckley Clarke, who died last April.

Clarke attended St Aloysius School in Cork City, but some comments posted on Facebook after the trial suggested she was a quiet girl with some of her classmates saying they barely remembered her. she. Someone who knew her when she joined the Fine Gael painted a similar picture.

“Fine Gael was looking to bring in a woman to run with Joe O’Callaghan in the northwestern part of Cork in 2014 to make sure there was a gender balance and Lyndsey was living on Blarney Street at the time. with her mother, she was therefore approached and she accepted the invitation to run.

“She only got 239 votes, which wasn’t great. She was naive to be honest because she thought she could get in and because she was a lawyer she would sweep everything in front of her – that was her attitude. This is not to be negative about her, she was a kind girl but naive and vulnerable.

The suggestion that Clarke was vulnerable is echoed by Flynn’s acquaintance. “I don’t know anything about Lyndsey, but watching them walk out of court when they were charged and she was smiling, I would say she was completely under his spell.”

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