A financial advisor who admitted defrauding clients of more than €200,000 has been jailed for five years.
Cork District Criminal Court heard that 46-year-old Mervyn Tanner was “stealing from Peter to pay Paul” after setting up a company that essentially loaned people who would struggle to get a loan elsewhere.
One of the victims in the case inherited money after her brother’s death that she planned to use to pay off her mortgage. However, Tanner convinced her to invest her, and she lost 120 thousand euros and is still paying her mortgage.
Mr. Tanner of Battery Court, Market Square, Malo Ko Cork has pleaded guilty to a number of sample counts of fraud and document forgery. The time period refers to various dates from November 2010 to December 2015.
Det Garda James O’Reilly told Judge Sean O’Donabhine that the case involved five injured parties.
Mr. Tanner was arrested by appointment in December 2018 after a concerned employee sounded the alarm after being personally affected by the fraudulent conduct of the defendant.
The woman had inherited more than €200,000 after her brother’s death in 2010. She had a mortgage with Mr. Tanner and said she wanted to pay it off. He said it was not wise to pay off the mortgage and the woman succeeded in the investment.
He told the woman that she would get a “good return” from different policies. The injured party trusted him and had no reason to question his advice.
In 2013, Mr. Tanner offered the woman a part-time job, and she began noticing that “everything wasn’t going well”.
The woman realized that many of Tanner’s clients were losing money. I talked to him about the money she had invested with him, and he promised to pay it back. She was charging small amounts per month and still losing more than 120 thousand euros.
In a victim impact statement, the woman said what Mr. Tanner had done was a “betrayal of her brother’s memory”.
“Mr. Tanner took advantage of me. I was an idiot. I felt ashamed and depressed. I suffer every day. She took everything from me.
“While I was in a volatile state and still grieving over my brother’s death, he (Tanner) advised me to invest the money. The accused pleaded guilty to taking 120,000 euros from my money. This amount of money would have meant a lot to our family. It would have allowed us to pay off the house and feel some financial security.”
It is also a betrayal of my brother’s memory. He wanted his money to be good for me and my children. Our lives are still affected because that money would have done so much financially for me and my family.”
Det Garda O’Reilly said Mr. Tanner provided false bank statements with some of his clients in an attempt to pretend that all was well with the company.
One of the men who invested in a scheme that Mr. Tanner advised him to join ended up losing more than €40,000 while the doctor lost more than €43,000. Another woman lost 5,000 euros.
Mr. Tanner was arrested in late December 2018. He admitted falsifying documents and said many investments had failed to generate returns.
The state’s attorney, Ray Boland, said the guilty plea in the case was of great help given the complications that would undoubtedly arise in a long and difficult trial.
Defense attorney James O’Mahony said Mr. Tanner was a separated father of three and at one point ran a business of up to 30 employees. He struggled with the collapse of the Celtic Tiger and was working alone in Mallo after running a business in Cork City.
Garda O’Reilly agreed that Mr. Tanner had made no fortune from his wrongdoings.
Judge O’Donabhine said Mr. Tanner was in a position of confidence and “was uniquely negligent in the performance of his duty” to his clients.
He said that the case was at a higher level of dishonesty and that a number of parties were harmed without the possibility of compensation.
Bearing in mind the value of the guilty plea, he imprisoned Mr. Tanner for seven years with the last two years suspended from his sentence.
“Spécialiste de la télévision sans vergogne. Pionnier des zombies inconditionnels. Résolveur de problèmes d’une humilité exaspérante.”