A Co Cork solicitor has gone on trial at the Circuit Criminal Court on charges related to the alleged theft of thousands of euro.
Gary O'Flynn, 38, of Hayfield Drive, Castle Court, Whitechurch, Co Cork, pleaded not guilty to 21 sample charges of dishonestly inducing a person to lodge money in a bank account, on the pretence that it would be paid to specified creditors, with the intention of making a gain for himself.
Sums of money of around €100 were involved and the 21 counts were sample charges where it was alleged that one man was at a loss of €6,375 and a woman was at a loss of €2,002.
Eric Higgins, a former builder, told the court that he had debts to Bank of Scotland and Friends First, for which there were court judgments against him.
Mr Higgins said he got a letter from a company called Debt Assist.
He rang the company and met Gary O'Flynn there.
He said Mr O'Flynn told him all would be fine and he set up an agreed payment of €40 a week to Bank of Scotland and €22.50 to Friends First.
The payment was first made through an account at AIB, South Mall, Cork, and later changed to Bank of Ireland, Blackpool, in Cork at the request of Mr O' Flynn.
Mr Higgins said Bank of Scotland told him they received nothing.
He told the court he dealt solely with Mr O'Flynn.
He denied that the money he paid was to cover solicitors' fees and the fees of Debt Assist.
Another witness Deborah O'Shea said she paid €2,000 into the same two accounts, but that this money did not go to her creditors.
She said she believed the money was going to pay off her debts.
The trial will resume tomorrow.