Jail for man described as the 'face of ghost broker insurance scam'

A NAVAN resident described by Judge Martina Baxter as the face of a ghost broker insurance scam was jailed for eight months at Trim Circuit Court.

Some of the offences were committed while the defendant was on bail for unlawfully possessing stun guns and CS gas cylinders

Three years ago twenty eight year old Martin Hanudel of Tubberclaire Meadows Athlumney Navan pleaded guilty to possessing the firearms.

Det Garda Pat Muldowney told that hearing that a package addressed to the defendant's mother's house in Tailtean Drive Navan was intercepted by Customs and Excise officers at a mail centre and found to contain four stun guns.

The package was delivered on 10th Feb 2016 and gardai who called to the house also found six gas cylinders of pepper spray and CS gas as well as an extendable baton, knuckledusters and a small amount of cannabis in the defendant's bedroom.

When questioned about the stun guns Hanudel said he was unaware who had ordered them and added that he was going to deliver them to the gardai.

The defendant later pleaded guilty to the firearms offences

Last year he became the first person in the country to admit to the crime of operating as a ghost broker when he pleaded guilty to 12 charges of deception on dates between June 2016 and Mar 2017.

The court heard that Hanudel targetted the Slovak community through social media sites offering cheap insurance.

He operated as a bogus intermediary by giving the insurers false information about the value of his unsuspecting clients cars, their employment, no claims histories and other information to get the cheap policies

The clients then paid the policy premium to the insurer and paid the defendant his fee seperately.

Earlier this year he admitted a further charge of deception committed while on bail.

The court heard he had falsely claimed to have had a full driving licence and to have been ten years older than he was when taking out insurance for himself in October 2018.

A resumed hearing was told the defendant had €15,000 in compensation which Judge Baxter directed be paid to the National Rehabilitation Hospital as many of those injured in road crashes have to use its services. The judge added it was fortunate that none of those who had bought policies through Hanudel had been involved in accidents.

Judge Baxter said while she accepted that Hanudel had been a cog in a bigger wheel he had been the face of the operation and had been motivated by pure greed.

The judge said she accepted the defendant was genuinely remorseful for his actions.

Judge Baxter imposed sentences totalling 48 months but suspended the final 40 months and allowed credit for the time the defendant already spent in custody.

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