A man accused of depriving investors of €177,000 was just a small farmer who was a simple bible-believer, his own counsel claimed in court.
Witnesses claimed at Donegal Circuit Court yesterday that Thomas Elvin claimed he was connected to a 100 million dollar back-up system when he persuaded them to invest.
50-year-old Elvin, of Meencargagh, Ballybofey, denies 26 counts of operating as an illegal investor on a variety of dates between 2003 and 2005 and of deceiving people of their cash, including life savings in at least one instance during the same period.
He is alleged to have committed the offences at a number of locations in Donegal town, Ballybofey and Cloghan, Co Donegal against seven victims, one of whom has since died.
The prosecution claims that one of a number of companies he was involved with was a firm in the British Virgin Islands known as Pear Shaped Resources.
Thomas Elvins counsel, Desmond Murphy, was cross-examining one witness when he observed that Mr Elvin was a simple bible-believing Christian trying to do the Lord’s work and he unfortunately fell prey to the evil one.
Fergus Herron, who says he was deprived of €20,000, told Judge John O’Hagan and the jury that he invested through Elvin because he trusted him and he thought he was a Christian.
He knew Elvin, a bachelor, was a small farmer but he also heard he bought a large farm somewhere. He didn’t have any concerns at all when he invested through him.
Daniel Ward, a former publican who sold his bar in Donegal town, told the court he invested €20,000 with Elvin who wrote on the back of a receipt that he had access to a 100,000 million dollars fund under management for clients in the British Virgin Islands.
He was assured of a minimum return of up to 20 per cent on his money over a period of between 30 to 45 days.
Mr Murphy suggestged that Mr Ward went into this involvement with his eyes wide open.
Mr Ward replied that he didn't realise Elvin’s ntention from the start was to defraud millions.
The trial continues.