Sunday, 19 April 2015

Husband indcited, wife sentenced over real estate investment scam

Sean O’Driscoll reports for the Irish Abroad that a Tyrone woman accused of swindling more than $500,000 from society friends by offering them non-existent Irish property has pleaded guilty to fraud, despite protesting her innocence to the Irish Voice in a prison interview last July. Julia Parrish, originally from Castlederg and formerly a leading member of the Republican Party in the affluent city of Athens, 60 miles south of Dallas, had told the Irish Voice that she was being set up and would be cleared at trial. 
However, Parrish pleaded guilty to wire fraud on Monday, one of 12 charges on the indictment. Assistant District Attorney Alan Jackson told the Irish Voice that he expected Parrish would be jailed for two and a half to three years when she is sentenced in about four months. He said that the wire fraud related to an e-mail she had sent to the victim of the scam, a Dr. Dennis E. Rose, in which she tried to assure him that his money was safe. In reality, say prosecutors, she was using his money to fund a lavish lifestyle.
Parrish claimed to be able to arrange the purchase of investment property in rural Ireland. When her society friends parted with hundreds of thousands of dollars, she spent it on gambling trips, several properties, a high-speed go-cart, two Rolex watches, a car and pick-up truck. Parrish was a big name in the local Republican Party and had met President Reagan and discussed her love of Ireland with him. She was also a high profile member of the Lone Star State Women’s Republican Club.
She emigrated to the U.S. in 1985 before organizing a prayer ministry in her hometown. She had clamed to the Irish Voice that she had fallen out with Dr. Rose, the doctor who had made the most serious allegations against her. Parrish said that Rose had set her up and that the truth about his own financial dealings would come out at trial.
Parrish, who ran a mobile home retail business with her husband, Clyde, was known for organizing the official memorial service in Athens for Reagan upon his death in June. Parrish had previously campaigned for the election of the local Republican District Attorney Donna Bennett and had been “a generous supporter” of the local Cattle Baron’s Ball to raise money for the American Cancer society.
While the wire fraud charge carries a maximum 20 year sentence, prosecutors say they will be satisfied with a two and a half or three year sentence. Parrish is to remain in jail until sentencing.

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