City council scammer had several luxury cars

Luxury cars, including two Porches and one Mercedes, were found outside the home of a man who stole over €123,000 from Cork City Council in a scam involving the sale of parking discs and bin tags to shops.

Sentencing was adjourned at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday in the case of Karl McCaughley, aged 40, of 12 Kilmore Woods, Ballinspittle, Co Cork, who had pleaded guilty to 28 sample charges of fraud in October.

Det Garda Michael Horgan said: “It would appear he enjoyed a very affluent lifestyle at that time.” The detective said McCaughley had six luxury cars outside his home during the investigation. McCaughley refuted this evidence.

Questioned by Judge Patrick J Moran on what cars he had at the time, McCaughley said he had two Porches, one Mercedes 4x4, and one Land Rover. He said he did not smoke or drink and had a passion for cars, describing it as his vice.

Defence SC James O’Mahony said after McCaughley left the witness box yesterday: “He really is abjectly apologetic. I know he did not jump out with that in the witness box but he has instructed me to say that.”

Judge Moran described McCaughley’s crimes as being against the taxpayers of Cork City. The judge said that despite the fact that the case had been going on for years, “not one penny has been paid, tendered”.

Det Garda Horgan said that, during a Garda investigation that went on for a year, McCaughley did not volunteer any information and only made admissions when specific evidence was put to him.

He said McCaughley became an agent for Cork City Council for the distribution of parking discs in 2004 and for bin tags to shops in Cork City in 2005.

“He delivered parking discs and bin tags and received payment from the retailers and was obliged to lodge payments in Cork City Council’s bank account by the following day at the latest,” said Det Garda Horgan.

“Within a year, he came to the attention of the internal audit department of Cork City Council. They had concerns about his returns. That ultimately led to a audit [by Pricewaterhouse Cooper] who issued a report in 2009. A report was sent to the gardaí and gardaí initiated an investigation. The Garda investigation discovered the thefts before the court.”

Mr O’Mahony said McCaughley suffered a panic attack on his way to an earlier court hearing in relation to the case and called an ambulance to bring him to Cork University Hospital.

Two weeks ago, McCaughley said, he went to CUH for psychiatric attention. Mr O’Mahony said that, in light of this, adjournment of sentencing for a psychiatric report would be appropriate.

Judge Moran put sentencing back until Apr 26.

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