Former garda to be sentenced later for theft and fraud

A former garda who stole thousands of euros from colleagues and an elderly woman will be sentenced on Thursday for theft and fraud charges.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that David Foran (aged 30) stole more than €7,000 over a two month period after his debts spiralled out of control following his wedding.

He has now been dismissed from the gardaí and his marriage has ended.

Foran responded to a burglary at an elderly woman’s home and found she had hidden nearly €2,000 in her bedroom. He later returned to steal the cash. He also collected money from his garda colleagues to organise events which he then used to pay his own debts.

Foran of Kinsale in Cork and formerly stationed at Fitzgibbon Street Garda Station, Dublin pleaded guilty to the theft of property worth €1,950 from the 82-year-old woman in Phibsboro between October 10 and 17, 2009.

He also pleaded to four counts of stealing money collected from his colleagues and one count of using a false instrument at Jury’s Hotel, Limerick, all between October and November 2009.

Detective Inspector Francis Sweeney told prosecuting counsel, Michael Bowman BL, that Foran became a garda in 2007 and was stationed at Fitzgibbon Street Garda Station when he responded to a burglary at the home of the elderly woman.

Burglars had broken into the sheltered housing where she lived but left without taking anything.

When Gda Foran arrived with a colleague the woman showed them the pillow cases where she kept her money. She received a pension from An Post where she worked all her life and kept the money at home as she didn’t trust banks.

The woman left for Cork the next day for a week during which time Foran returned. He gained access to the property by telling the management he was continuing his investigation and while there he took the money.

When she discovered the money was missing, the woman phoned gardaí who began an investigation.

The investigating garda then passed the case to Gda Foran who said he would take care of it. However he never contacted the woman again.

Suspicions about Foran were raised after the woman wrote a letter of complaint about the lack of a follow-up.

After hearing the evidence, Judge Mary Ellen Ring asked Inspector Sweeney about the well-being of the woman.

Inspector Sweeney said the woman’s health had deteriorated and she believes this is a result of the ordeal. She is now living in a nursing home.

The court also heard how Foran organised a number of collections for social events for his garda colleagues including a Christmas party in Jury’s Hotel in Limerick.

He collected cash for the event but used this to pay his debts instead. When he had to make part-payment for the hotel after the event he used a credit card number belonging to a colleague along with a forged letter of authorisation on garda headed note paper.

Other incidents of theft from colleagues included a collection for a garda who was leaving, a collection for a trip to Liverpool for a football match and money collected for a Christmas party.

An investigation was begun after the Jury’s incident when his colleague noticed the money missing on his credit card. Foran was arrested as he started his shift on December 3, 2009.

As he sat in the back of the garda car he confessed to stealing from the elderly woman and blamed his out of control debts for his actions. He was suspended from the force and eventually dismissed.

Defence counsel, Ronan Munro BL said: “He has lost his chosen career, his marriage has fallen apart and he has ruined the good name of himself and his family.”

The court heard that Foran’s family have helped him with his debts and all money has been repaid.

Judge Ring said: “This is clearly a serious offence and has serious consequences for everyone,” before adjourning sentencing until Thursday.

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