Man accused of depriving people of savings was “making money for the work of God”

A man accused of illegally depriving seven people of €177,000 savings linked up with an American financial dealer who he expected to turn 50,000 dollars into 98 million dollars in 35 days, according to emails presented in court yesterday.

50-year-old Thomas Elvin, described by his own counsel as a bible-believing small Donegal farmer, told his US contact, Larry Marsella, that what they were doing was making money for the work of God and spreading the gospel.

He added in one of a number of emails read at Donegal Circuit Court that what they were doing was contrary to the work of the evil one.

One email from Elvin’s farmhouse home in Meencargagh, Ballybofey, said he wouldn’t tell a woman friend about what he and Marsella were doing until they raised over 20 million dollars as she might think they were doing something illegal or immoral.

He asked for 15 million dollars to be raised within days at a lower rate of interest than the seven per cent offered by two other sources and he would need 174 million in the New Year and he guaranteed to repay within 10 years maximum.

Other emails referred to interest rates of 25 per cent per day and Elvin’s counsel, Desmond Murphy, SC, explained the defence case was the money raised from Co. Donegal complainants was invested through forex, a way of making money or losing it in deals in split seconds in currencies.

Mr Murphy said forex resulted in vast profits or vast losses. Starting with 50,000 at 25 per cent per day gave operators access to several million dollars which they would never have to pay if it went right. If it went wrong they lost the 50,000 and they had to pay several other millions.  Mr Murphy added: “It’s a gigantic bet.”

Elvin denies 26 counts of depriving seven people –one of whom is now dead – of funds by operating as an illegal financial advisor and theft by deception..

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.

Witnesses told the court that they didn’t receive a single penny from the money invested through Elvin

The trial is expected to end on Tuesday.