Court of Appeal upholds finding that couple’s home was bought with crime proceeds

Stefan Saunders (46), who was jailed over foiled armed robbery, and Tammy Saunders said money came from work, gifts and savings

A couple who were found by the High Court to have bought their family home with the proceeds of crime have lost an appeal preventing them from selling or otherwise dealing with the property pending further order.

Stefan and Tammy Saunders denied the house at Hazelbury Park, Dublin 15 was acquired with the proceeds of crime and claimed the money came from employment, gifts and savings.

The five-bed semi-detached home was refurbished in 2007 to what a valuer said was the “highest standard”. It contained an extension kitted out with expensive sanitary ware and furnishings, projector screens and a jacuzzi.

In October 2022, the High Court ruled that the Saunders were prohibited from dealing in or disposing of the house after a judge found it, a rental property they had sold, businesses and expensive cars were funded with the proceeds of crime. The order remained in force pending further order by the court.


Stefan Saunders (46) was jailed in 2018 for 7½ years after gardaí foiled a cash-in-transit armed robbery in 2016. He is also suspected by the Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) of being involved in the €1.8 million Brinks Allied security van robbery in Artane, Dublin in 2005.

The High Court judge was satisfied he was a member of a gang of robbers who funded a “spending spree” on these assets by himself and his wife between 2005 and 2008.

Between 2003 and 2006, the couple had “access to amounts of money grossly out of kilter with possible sources of legitimate earnings”, the court said.

Stefan Saunders, who said he worked as a plasterer, and Ms Saunders, who drew a salary from an interior decoration business they owned, denied the assets were the proceeds of crime.

They got into financial difficulties in 2010 and later entered into a personal insolvency arrangement which led to the sale of the rental property.

The judge said their evidence as to the source of their money was “general and unconvincing”. He also accepted the conclusion of a Cab forensic accountant that their expenditure did not square with their identified legitimate sources of income.

The spending spree was not capable of being explained away as a mixture of legitimate earnings from businesses or employments and easy access to cheap sources of credit, he said.

The judge said “money from unidentified sources” was used to provide working capital for the interior decoration business Ms Saunders worked in, U Design of Berkeley Road, Dublin, which was established in June 2005.

Money from unidentified sources was used to open and operate hair salons on Berkeley Road and in Meakstown near Finglas, he said.

The couple appealed the High Court decision.

They argued the High Court judge erred in fact and in law in determining that Hazelbury came from the proceeds of crime “from activities of (Stefan Saunders) as a member of a gang of robbers”.

It was argued the judge took into consideration evidence in relation to an allegation of criminality for which Stefan Saunders has not been tried in accordance with law. It was further argued there was an error in the judge’s finding that there was no risk of injustice to the Saunders in circumstances where they had already been investigated previously by Cab in relation to property transactions. Cab opposed the appeal.

On Thursday, Ms Justice Mary Faherty, on behalf of the three-judge Court of Appeal, found the Saunders had not made out the case for saying the High Court erred on any of the grounds they had put forward. She dismissed the appeal.

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