A 32-year-old mid-tier criminal gang member who laundered money for the Kinahan organised crime group has been reformed and "learned his lesson from prison and recognised he can't go on like before", the Special Criminal Court has heard.
Sean Ruth, from Stradbrook, Stradbally Road in Portlaoise pleaded guilty to two money laundering offences and has paid the Criminal Assets Bureau over €20,000.
He first came to the attention of gardaí after his DNA was found in a warehouse the Kinahan organised crime group used for storing submachine guns and semi-automatic pistols.
He was subsequently jailed for three years for firearms offences.
The court heard that since his release from prison he has not associated with Kinahan gang members or been involved in criminal activity.
Ruth was a mid-tier member of the Kinahan organised crime group who allowed his bank accounts to be used for money laundering.
He was first arrested after the gardaí discovered the Kinahan gang’s armoury in a warehouse in the Greenogue Industrial Estate in south Dublin and seized 15 guns and ammunition including a submachine gun, a Kalashnikov, semi-automatic pistols, tracking devices and a machine for making car registration plates.
Ruth did not pay tax, was not registered for PAYE and claimed over €8,000 in back to work allowances but he also allowed his bank accounts to be used to launder the proceeds of crime.
He had over €18,000 in one AIB account and another €32,000 in another, a total of over €50,000.
The money was also "recycled" from one account to another and lodged in cheques and cash.
More than €34,000 of the money came from "an unknown source".
The Criminal Assets Bureau sent him a tax assessment for €34,000 and seized almost €20,000 from his Credit Union account. He owes CAB another €9,900 which the court heard his parents will help him to pay.
The Special Criminal Court heard today that prison for Ruth was "an eye opener", and he has gone through a period of rehabilitation and reform.
He has begun a new life and is no longer involved with gangsters or criminality and has returned to education, currently doing a sports recreation and exercise course.
He had been running a bouncy castle and power washing business and also sold cars and horses but did not pay tax.
"He got involved in legitimate business, made associations which led him towards illegitimate business," his defence counsel John Fitzgerald said. "He has taken his medicine and learned his lesson."
His defence counsel also said that in Ruth’s case prison has already worked and there is no need to send him back there.
"He has learned his lesson from prison and recognises he can’t go on like before," Mr Fitzgerald said.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt said there is a need to deter people from assisting organised crime groups but that the amount of money, in this case, seems "on the low side".
Ruth will be sentenced at the Special Criminal Court next month.