A former An Post worker will be sentenced later for stealing €25,000 from business client cash lodgments when he fell into financial difficulties after being out sick.
Another overseer, covering for Morgan Sheehy (aged 55) in the GPO’s Cash Remittance Unit, found two suspicious lodgment slips totaling €25,000 which led to an internal inquiry and subsequent garda investigation.
Sheehy, of Castaheany, Clonee, admitted to An Post that he’d lodged €32,500 of a €57,500 Lidl cash lodgment and taken the remaining €25,000 to cover up an equivalent amount he’d stolen over the previous seven months.
Detective Garda Paul McHugh revealed that Sheehy had been off sick from work, had been unable to do overtime on his return and began regularly stealing cash amounts between €2,000 and €4,000 from January 2008 to offset his financial problems.
The father-of-five pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to stealing €25,000 from An Post at Dublin’s GPO on August 14, 2008. He has no previous convictions.
Det Gda McHugh told Mr Kerida Naidoo BL, prosecuting, that Lidl had deposited three cash bags for lodgment, Sheehy took two of these bags containing a total €25,000 and lodged the remaining bag only.
The detective garda said Sheehy had been off sick with a long standing illness the day the covering overseer found the slips which led to the criminal investigation.
Sheehy told gardaí that he tried to cover up his crime by delaying business deposits but his stealing “spiraled out of control”.
He said he didn’t keep a record of the amounts he stole but revealed he would take regularly from cash lodgments till the sum had reached €25,000.
He added that he was under pressure to repay his mortgage but had been unable to do any overtime since his illness.
Det Gda McHugh told Mr Naidoo that Sheehy intends to pay the stolen sum in full out of his pension, due in five years.
Det Gda McHugh agreed with Mr Phillip Rahn BL, defending, that his client currently has €13,000 in mortgage arrears but is also due a back payment of €5,500 from Social Welfare.
He agreed that Sheehy was dismissed from his job after 36 years without incident following the theft investigation.
Mr Rahn submitted to Judge Katherine Delahunt that his client now receives welfare assistance but is still entitled to his pension after his 60th birthday.
He said his client intends to reimburse An Post the full amount once he has access to this fund.
Mr Rahn submitted that Sheehy has suffered with depression since 1993, was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and is now on anti-psychotic medication.
He added that his client has five grown-up children and four foster children.
Counsel asked the judge to impose a suspended sentence to “hang over” his client till he turns 60 and be activated if Sheehy fails to repay An Post once he gets his pension.
Judge Delahunt told Mr Rahn she had no paperwork to determine the scale of Sheehy’s financial difficulties which were given as a reason for his offences.
She said she wanted to see evidence of Sheehy’s income while at An Post and from all other sources on the next sentence date.
She adjourned the matter till November pending a probation and welfare report.