Mallow’s financial adviser jailed for fraud as court hears victim ‘took it all’ from her

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A Mallow financial adviser who used his business to trick people with substantial sums of money has been jailed for five years.

One of her victims inherited the money she planned to use to prepare her young family for the future by paying off her mortgage in full, but Mervyn Tanner persuaded her to invest it and she loses now 120,000 € and still has his mortgage.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said there was a huge breach of trust on the part of Mervyn Tanner, 46, of Butter Court, Market Square, Mallow, County Cork, while he was imprisoning him at the Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

He pleaded guilty to several examples of charges of fraudulent money and forgery of documents in support of various frauds.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said: “Mervyn Tanner was a financial and mortgage advisor. He was in a position of trust. He was a person many victims had a right to trust, to trust his integrity and reliability to use any money they might give him for their own benefit. He was singularly negligent in this role.

“This is at the height of dishonesty in a case like this and for the number of aggrieved parties, the continuity of transactions and the fact of such a significant breach of trust – the breach of trust in these cases is enormous.

“He took money from these people. He used it in a way that is still unclear. People have lost all – or a substantial part – of their money. There was all kinds of dishonesty about where the money was and when it would be refunded. She was reimbursed in small amounts whenever the pressure was on.

“It happened somehow from 2010 to 2015 and there seemed to be a concentration of its behavior around 2015 – by this point the tiger had almost resuscitated. I don’t know what the Celtic Tiger and his demise have to do with this case.

The judge said that by offering explanations to the guards and the court, the defendant, Mervyn Tanner, showed a lack of insight in his behavior.

“It was never going to go well. Let’s go.

Most of these people lose very large sums of money. He used his business to fool people with substantial sums and there was never any real prospect of paying back the money.

Detective Garda James O’Reilly has described the backgrounds of people who made investments through Mervyn Tanner and in some cases they have been shown fraudulent documents.

A woman planned to use the money she inherited after her brother’s death to write off the family mortgage, but Tanner persuaded her to do otherwise.

Another woman was the victim of a € 6,200 fraud when Tanner showed her false documents to make it look like an investment was genuine. In another case, he made no money but presented false documents claiming to show that he had the funds to buy a € 247,000 house in Glanmire. The illegality was spotted before there was any real financial loss.

An investor ended up with a loss of € 42,000 which he handed over to the accused to buy a property on North Main Street. The investor was told that the sale was unsuccessful but ended up with a loss of € 42,000 on various payments he made to Tanner.

Finally, there was a fifth incident where a woman entrusted the accused with money and ended up with a loss of € 5,000.

James O’Mahony, lead defense attorney, said that at one point the defendant had offices in Douglas and North Point Business Park – and at the latter outlet he employed 30 people.

After the financial crash, he went into business in Mallow selling mortgages and life insurance policies.

“He got involved in arranging loans for people who would not otherwise have been able to get loans and they were at high interest rates for short periods of time,” Mr. O’Mahony SC said.

Retail Garda O’Reilly said: “Some of these people didn’t know this was being used for private investment.” Mr O’Mahony added: “But some of them were.”

Senior defense attorney added: “The accused has no attraction of wealth. He didn’t go on an expensive vacation, driving Porsches with expensive jewelry.

“He ended up lending money to people who couldn’t pay him back – that doesn’t mean he’s not guilty, he accepted responsibility for all these accusations. But he ended up stealing Peter to pay Paul.

Victim statement

Laura Murphy, mother of three, despoiled of € 120,000 said: “In 2010, I inherited € 218,000 from my brother’s life insurance. It was a very difficult time for me and my family. Looking back, I felt so vulnerable.

“I’ve dealt with Mervyn Tanner before because he helped me and my brother get a mortgage on a house in Kanturk in 2006. Mervyn knew that I had received money from the death of my brother and contacted me for advice on how to invest the money and advised me not to pay off the mortgage on my house which I was planning to do.

“While I was in a shaky state and still mourning the passing of my brother, he advised me to invest the money in New Ireland and Aviva. Unfortunately, I trusted his advice and soon after he advised me to invest in private investments.

“In 2013 I started working for him and around that point I started to discover that there was something wrong with Mervyn and his connections. I now believe he was keeping me very close so that more money could be taken from me.

“I stopped receiving payments on time and the checks started to bounce back. So I started looking for my money and he always had a story of how he would get it soon or that there was a big investment coming up or something that never came. It has continued to this day.

“The accused pleaded guilty to taking € 120,000 of my money. This amount of money would have meant so much to our family, it would have allowed us to pay for the house and feel some financial security. It is also a betrayal of my brother’s memory – he wanted his money to be good for me and my children.

“I feel like Mr. Tanner saw me low and took full advantage of me. I can’t believe a human would do this. It had never crossed my mind until it was too late.

“It’s very difficult when you trust someone like him. When I first got to know him, he had a good reputation in Mallow. That’s why I felt I could trust him. However, somewhere along the line everything changed and I feel like I was taken for a jerk and he used me to make money for himself.

I felt ashamed and depressed. I have been in mental pain every day since realizing that I had been cheated with all this money. The future of my children was in danger.

“I went through all the stages – anger, upheaval, confusion, betrayal. Everything was taken from me. Our lives continue to be affected because this money would have done so much financially for me and my family.

“I want to thank the gardaí who was involved in this case for making this court case happen. And my husband for his support and to Support After Crime Services for their help.


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