A man who claimed to have access to a 100 million dollar management fund when he persuaded people to invest €177,000 was not an authorised financial advisor, an investigation leader told a court.
The prosecution claims Donegal farmer Thomas Elvin headed a number of companies, including one called Pear Shaped Resources, to which he tempted people to invest.
Sgt Gerry Mullaney said he had been provided with documentation from Ireland’s financial regulator saying Thomas Elvin was not registered as a financial advisor.
Sgt Mullaney told Donegal Circuit Court that a search of Elvin’s house produced a letter with his signature and headed Pear Shaped Resources, and his Donegal address, despite the company being registered in the British Virgin Islands.
Elvin, 50, denies 26 counts of depriving seven people –one of whom is now dead – by operating as an illegal financial advisor and theft by deception..
Sgt Mullaney, who led a lengthy inquiry, said he started his investigations in November 2005 when he received complaints from three people that they had received no returns from investments placed with Elvin, of Meencargagh, Ballybofey.
He listed his chase of the money trail through a number of accounts in Donegal and Strabane and the US where money was transferred to Florida-based Larry Nathan Marsella.who worked for Pear Shaped.
Sharman Duncan, of Donegal town, who was one of the seven claiming to have been deprived of money, told the court how she and her widowed mother, Elizabeth – who has since died – invested life-savings of €102,034 with Elvin and none of the money was recovered.
She said she knew Elvin since her teens when they used to meet at Church of Ireland dances.
Elvin is alleged to have committed the offences at a number of locations in Donegal town, Ballybofey and Cloghan, Co Donegal between December 2003 and March 2005.
The trial continues.