Ballybofey con-man behind bars

A con-man with a company called Pear-shaped Resources is behind bars for the first time since he deprived victims of €177,000.

Thomas Elvin was before Carrick-on-Shannon Circuit Court for sentence following a conviction last December by a jury in Donegal of operating as an illegal investor between 2003 and 2005 and depriving seven people of their cash.

Judge John O'Hagan had studied a probation report prepared following the guilty verdict and was set to sentence 51-year-old Elvin who has nine cows on a 17-acre farm at Meencargagh, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal.

During an hour-long sentencing hearing the judge heard from defence counsel Desmond Murphy that a psychologist had taken two days to carry out an assessment and his report wouldn't be ready until next week.

Judge O'Hagan remanded Elvin in custody to reappear at Letterkenny Circuit Court next Tuesday.

He said: "This is a most serious matter where people have been conned out of their money. He must have known what was coming down the line. He hardly expected to walk out of this court with no punishment."

During his trial Elvin, whose Pear Shaped Resources was based in the British Virgin Islands, claimed that he was a penniless bible-believer who wanted to raise millions for benevolent causes.

He operated from a computer on his farm through Internet contact with a US aide, Larry Marsella who had a plan to raise 25 per cent profit a day on high-risk investments on international currency exchanges through a system known as forex.

Elvin admitted in court that he hoped to turn 50,000 dollars into 98 million dollars in between 30 and 45 days but Marsella, whom he trusted, duped him.
Judge O'Hagan was told today that €38,000 from "frozen" money had been repaid to one woman victim who lost €102,000 to Elvin.

None of the rest of the money had been repaid.

Defence counsel Murphy said there was no prospect of it being repaid as Elvin's farm was heavily in debt and he had an income of only €115 a week