Suspended sentence for former psychic with Athlone address
by Isabel Hayes
A former psychic, previously jailed for seven and a half years for money laundering €1.6 million, has been given a three-year suspended sentence for dishonestly opening two bank accounts.
Defence counsel told Judge Martin Nolan he may be surprised to learn that Simon Gold (58) has already been released from prison some three years after the seven-and-a-half year sentence was handed down in 2019.
Judge Nolan responded: “It doesn't surprise me at all that Mr Gold has persuaded prison authorities to his benefit.”
Oisín Clarke BL, defending, told the court Gold had done “extremely well” in custody, completing a number of courses before he was moved to an open prison and then released on restrictive conditions. He had served four years of the prison sentence, which was backdated to 2018.
Gold, with an address at Windy Ridge House, Cartontroy, Athlone, pleaded guilty to two counts of opening a bank account at locations in Dublin and Offaly on dates in July 2017 and March 2018.
Fake documents that had been used to open the accounts were found during a search of Gold's house in 2018, Detective Garda Sean Sheehan told the court. He has 46 previous convictions, including money laundering offences.
Gold was jailed in 2019 after he was found guilty by a jury of money laundering, theft, deception and control of false instruments on dates between January 1, 2010 and October 22, 2012 following a two-week trial.
During the trial, the jury heard that Gold used to work as a psychic. He represented himself to his victims as a highly qualified financier, merchant banker or financial consultant.
In the case of the two bank accounts currently before the court, Det Gda Sheehan said that around €80,000 passed through one, while the other was mostly used for household expenses. About €18,500 remains frozen in the first account and will be forfeited and returned to various third parties, the court heard.
Defence counsel submitted that had the court been dealing with these offences at the same time as Gold's money laundering offending, a longer sentence may not have been imposed. Mr Clarke submitted there was little benefit in returning Gold to prison, given the level of rehabilitation he has undertaken.
Sentencing Gold today, Judge Nolan agreed that he would not have imposed a longer prison term at the time of the money-laundering hearing, had these offences been dealt with simultaneously.
The judge sentenced Gold to three years but suspended it in full on the basis that he be of good behaviour for three years.
Judge Nolan said there was “no point” in involving Probation Services, as Gold was highly intelligent and knew what he had to do.
“He has the ability to apply his unique skills to legitimate purposes. I don’t know what he’ll do,” remarked the judge.