Convicted fraudster Catriona Carey has taken issue with an early morning search carried out at her home in Kilkenny by detectives last year, according to informed sources
he former Ireland hockey player made a complaint to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) about the criminal investigation into claims she ran a mortgage scam.
Gardaí armed with a warrant searched her residence in March last year, seeking financial documents and receipts. They removed boxes of records from the property.
The nature of the complaint is not clear, and Gsoc does not comment on individual cases.
In her only interview to date, Carey told the Sunday World: “Gardaí took receipts, my laptop, some personal jewellery. They took my purse and my passport and my children’s passports — because someone told them I was a flight risk.”
She also said she was “quite happy” to be under investigation, because she had done nothing wrong.
“I phoned gardaí after they raided my home and said: ‘Here is my number and my email. I am very happy to deal with you on anything you need. I will deal with you on everything.’ I gave them passwords to everything.”
News of Carey’s complaint has emerged as the criminal investigation into allegations that she defrauded struggling mortgage holders out of €400,000 nears an end.
The alleged con was first exposed by an RTÉ Investigates documentary in February 14, 2022, when 18 people claimed Carey had conned them out of tens of thousands of euro by promising to refinance their loans for a fee.
Some clients said they handed over deposits of €5,000, while others paid her up to €60,000. The new loans never materialised and a number of people lost their homes as well as their deposits.
The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau took over the investigation following the programme. Two weeks later, on March 1, gardaí armed with a warrant moved to search Carey’s home.
Gardaí made the first arrest in the case in February, when a man was arrested in Wexford and questioned about conspiracy to commit deception.
Garda sources said it was a “significant arrest”, though he was released without charge.
Two people who are suspected of being the organisers of the scam, are expected to be arrested within weeks.
There has been little sign that property owners who claim they have been defrauded will get their money back.
Property owners are alleged to have paid tens of thousands in deposits to Carey’s UK-registered company, Careysfort Asset Estates, over two years.
Carey also asked clients to transfer deposits to bank accounts in Germany and Belgium. Garda sources say the accounts were tracked down through international police authorities — but they contained little or no funds.
The money appears to have been frittered away. Leaked financial records seen by the Sunday Independent show tens of thousands were spent on foreign holidays. Another €50,000 was spent on a BMW car, and more money went on expensive clothes and furniture, as well as household shopping.
By January last year, just €488.10 remained in the company bank account.
The Central Bank issued a notice warning the public not to do business with Careysfort Asset Estates because the company was not authorised by the regulator.
Carey has claimed that she is the ‘fall guy’
Carey’s brother is the former Kilkenny hurler DJ Carey, who made headlines earlier this year when it emerged AIB had given him an 80pc writedown of a €9.5m property-related debt.
Catriona Carey was arrested by the Corporate Enforcement Authority in February over alleged breaches of company law involving Careysfort Asset Estates. She was released without charge.
Carey has claimed that she was the “fall guy” and blamed the mortgage scam on an “associate”.
She has suffered numerous setbacks since the RTÉ Investigates documentary was broadcast. Last year she received a suspended prison sentence and a four-year driving ban for driving without a licence or insurance while disqualified from driving.
She is appealing the sentence.
She lost her family home after having defaulted on her mortgage payments for many years. The house was repossessed by Start mortgages and went on the market for €550,000.
Her €50,000 BMW was impounded by gardaí.
Three years ago, she was given a suspended sentence for defrauding a salon owner client of €6,948 by forging her name on a cheque that he intended to use to pay the Revenue Commissioners.
Gsoc declined to comment on Carey’s complaint. A statement said: “Gsoc does not comment on or confirm the existence of complaints. This is to protect complainants and those complained of.”
Attempts by this newspaper to contact Carey were unsuccessful.