Fraudster facing prison after ‘almighty fall from grace’

Craigavon Courthouse
Craigavon Courthouse
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A Portadown man who defrauded three victims of £250,000 has had an “almighty fall from grace” and has “brought shame on himself and his family”, a defence barrister said.

David Mark Flannigan (45), whose address was given as Lurgan Road, appeared at Craigavon Crown Court today (Monday) for sentencing, where he was told that a jail term is inevitable.

At a previous hearing in October he had pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud by abuse of his position.

Flannigan, an accounting technician, swindled most of the money - £161,370 - from the R N Moore Will Trust. This fund was set up by Flannigan’s friend, Tandragee man Raymond Moore, for his two children in the event of his death.

Mr Moore, a former RIR soldier, was killed in an explosion Iraq in 2007 while working for a security firm.

A further £66,800 was stolen from Portadown Masonic Recreation Club and £23,508 from Richhill-based Orchard County Travel.

The court heard that Flannigan committed the offences over a space of four-and-a-half years, from January 2010 to May 2014.

Prosecution barrister Nicola Auret said the defendant occupied a position of trust in all three bodies and moved various sums of money on numerous occasions between accounts, much of it by electronic bank transfer.

She said that in the case of the RN Moore trust, Mr Moore had directed that the money be given to his children, Rebecca and Zach, once they turned 21.

Ms Auret said that when Rebecca Moore reached 21 she contacted the defendant who “ deliberately misled and lied to her” about the money left in the account.

She was given an initial sum of £10,000 but has never received anything since.

The court also heard that £10,000 was used by Flannigan himself for a personal debt when he was facing bankruptcy due to an unpaid car loan.

In the Masonic Club, he was able to bypass a regulation which required two signatures for any transaction by using internet banking.

Ms Auret said the defendant also had “sole control” of Orchard Country Travel after the owner William Brown suffered a stroke and his wife Elizabeth devoted his time to caring for him.

She said the family, who employed Flannigan in a managerial role, knew his father, a former transport manager for the Southern Education and Library Board.

She added, “He admitted taking the money but refused to accept he had benefitted personally, but it is quite clear he did.”

She said that the only way the defendant is able to repay some of the money is through his pension funds.

Defence barrister Charles MacCreanor QC said Flannigan, a father of two with no previous convictions, had got himself into a position which “had spiralled out of control”.

“This offending has cost him his marriage and his home. Since this matter came to light, he is not in employment and he has ongoing health issues.

“He did not set out to defraud. Most of the money went to Orchard Travel, where he was employed, to keep the company afloat. He knows he has caused harm to those who trusted him and he knows he must go to jail,” he added.

He said the defendant had signed over his three pension funds - worth around £64,000 - to the children of Mr Moore.

Judge Donna McColgan QC said she was taking a week to consider the appropriate prison sentence, adding that the consequences “are inevitable”.

She remanded Flannigan in custody to appear again next Monday, November 27.

At a previous hearing, the Public Prosecution Service decided not to proceed with charges against the defendant’s wife, Judy Flannigan.