Fraudster granny on the run after spell in Limerick

A picture of Julia Holmes in one of her guises
A picture of Julia Holmes in one of her guises
A picture of Julia Holmes in one of her guises

Andrew Carey

A FRAUDSTER granny living in County Limerick is on the run from the FBI, the PSNI and An Garda Siochana after she continued to ply her scamming trade under one of her 40 different aliases.

Julia Holmes has been reported as living in the Askeaton area in recent times and Gardai say that they are “aware” of the situation and are investigating her whereabouts further.

However, gardai now believe she may have fled the area since the adverse publicity would have blown her cover.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

63-year-old Julia Holmes is on the run from the PSNI as she was due to stand trial in 2011 for alleged fraud offences.

The Northern Irish woman was deported from the US in 2006 after she was arrested in connection with a half a million dollar property scam in Texas.

On the run from authorities in both countries, the woman is said to have fled south to the County Limerick town where she set herself up under the name Julia or Julianne Ruttle and Croen Ruttle. A man named Tom Ruttle was said to be her husband but it is understood that she never divorced her first husband in Northern Ireland.

The conning granny, it is now understood, has left debts to local builders and to the tune of €75,000 following work carried out at an Askeaton property she was living in.

A company that Ms Holmes set up, called Irish Bee Sensation, has proven to be quite successful in the recent past after it won various awards including three at last year’s Bia na hEireann in the pure Irish honey categpry.

But the scams are said to have continued as the granny’s company is now accused of repackaging supermarket honey to pass it off as “wild honey”. This honey, said to be made from bees “fed on wild heather”, was subsequently sold to upmarket retailers for large profits, but Mr Ruttle is not said to be connected to this.

The conning granny is said to have created “convincing links” where she was able to conduct business and pay minimal amounts for services and work done after using stories claiming she was dying from a serious illness.

While a number of the alleged scams may relate to business dealings and therefore would be civil matters, gardai say that they are conducting enquiries for the PSNI.

In 2011, Holmes fled the Northern Irish jurisdiction after being charged in relation to an £18,000 fraud and the PSNI are actively seeking the 63-year-old.

“Anyone who has been in contact with this woman, or thinks they know where she is now, is asked to contact detectives in Downpatrick,” a spokesperson said.

Ms Holmes, who has more than 20 convictions, was jailed in 2009 for 21 months after she was convicted of 22 fraud offences.