The Central Bank has issued a warning notice about a UK registered firm that has controversial Kilkenny businesswoman Catriona Carey listed as director.

Ms Carey is currently under investigation by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau for her involvement in an alleged scam to defraud homeowners who had fallen into arrears on their mortgages.

The Central Bank said Careysfort Asset Estates Ltd is not authorised to provide financial services that require an authorisation under legislation it is responsible for enforcing.

It said Ms Carey is the sole director of Careysfort Asset Estates Ltd, which has a registered address at 22 Wenlock Road, London in England.

"The Central Bank believes that Careysfort Asset Estates Limited is holding itself out as a person whose business consists wholly or partly of providing credit directly to a relevant person but it holds no authorisation from the Central Bank as a retail credit firm," the regulator said.

"It is a criminal offence for an unauthorised firm / person to provide financial services in Ireland that would require an authorisation under the relevant legislation, which the Central Bank is the responsible body for enforcing."

"Consumers should check the Central Bank registers online to find out if a firm / person they are dealing with is authorised. Consumers should be wary of advertisements offering loans from unauthorised firms or persons."

In February, RTÉ Investigates revealed that Ms Carey defrauded at least 18 people of a combined sum of around €500,000.

Ms Carey used UK firm Careysfort Asset Estates Limited as the vehicle for the scam.

She offered to buy distressed mortgage loans from lenders at a discount and sell them back to the original borrowers at a similar discount.

Most of those who were duped paid around €15,000 to €35,000, while some paid €60,000.

Those sums, paid as refundable deposits, were, as subsequently reported by RTÉ Investigates, used to buy luxury clothes, foreign holidays and a BMW car.

The company account was also used to repay €6,948 stolen from a Kilkenny hairdresser, Nigel Kenny.

Ms Carey was convicted in February 2020 for the theft and for forging a cheque from Mr Kenny, who had hired her as his accountant.

She pleaded guilty and was given an eight-month suspended prison sentence.

Last month, another suspended prison sentence was handed down to Ms Carey for her second offence of driving without a licence or insurance while disqualified from driving.

Read more
Central Bank warning adds to Catriona Carey's woes