Keith Flynn (46) and wife Lynda Clarke (37) were solicitors a few years ago. They are solicitors no more because, at some point in the past few years, they went rogue. The couple decided to dedicate themselves to a life of crime, scamming a total of €394,804 from banks and credit unions.
The couple met when Lynda Clarke joined Keith Flynn’s legal practice 8 years ago. The non-violent Bonnie & Clyde went on a crime spree thereafter. In 2017, Bank of Ireland’s Financial Crime Unit became suspicious of activity on several accounts. BOI contacted the Gardaí who immediately opened an investigation.
By mid-2018 the pair’s Cork apartment was raided. Gardaí recovered laptops, disguises, including wigs and over €92K in cash in a safe at the property. They also found 16 credit union books in multiples names, 21 fake driving licences and 19 fake bank cards.
Detective Garda Mc Carthy told Cork Circuit Criminal Court that the couple had 19 fake bank accounts with Bank of Ireland, 19 with AIB, 19 fake credit union accounts and three fake accounts with Ulster Bank. They had taken out loans with all of these financial institutions.
Flynn and Clarke had applied for loans using various false forms of identification; driving licences, payslips and utility bills. They used over 30 different sim cards. Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the case is the fact that the couple cruised the streets of Cork, paying unsuspecting homeless people for their PPS numbers in order to prepare false identity documents.
All told, the couple, who often wore disguises when visiting banks or ATMs, used 60 different false identities to defraud the various financial institutions. Caught red-handed the couple pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud charges. Senior Counsel for the prosecution Siobhan Lankford said that the couple were effectively running an “identity factory”.
The couple who have been found guilty, have a young baby together in addition to Mr Flynn’s two children from a previous marriage and Ms. Clarke’s one other child from her previous relationship. Mr Flynn was remanded in custody to await sentencing while Ms Clarke was released on bail to allow her to make arrangements for the children’s care.