'Make a phone call and call reality', judge tells man who spent over €58k accidentally lodged to his account

'Make a phone call and call reality', judge tells man who spent over €58k accidentally lodged to his account

A man who spent €58,000 accidentally lodged in his bank account claimed he did not set out to defraud anybody but the sentencing judge said the accused needed to make a phone call to reality.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said the accused only succeeded in digging a bigger hole for himself by going into the witness box at Cork Circuit Criminal Court today.

“I got it off my chest anyway, your honour,” Keith O’Connor, 50, said. The judge said, “I am glad it was of good use.”

Judge Ó Donnabháin said, “I would say, make a phone call and call reality. And when reality rings you, reality will tell you cop yourself on. Pay as much compensation as you can or you will go to jail.”

So far, the accused has repaid €20,000. The judge said more needed to be raised.

O’Connor said: “I have had nothing but trouble since that money landed in my account.

“I have been caught by banks before. I have had my house broken into by people looking for the money. I have been threatened, your honour. I did not need that money. I did not ask for that money. It is they put the money in. I did not go out to defraud anyone.”

Judge Ó Donnabháin wondered if the sentencing hearing was actually an application by the accused to change his plea of guilty to one of not guilty.

“I don’t know why he was called (to give evidence). He seems to be digging a bigger hole for himself,” the judge said.

O’Connor then said: “I went to a garda station to say my house was robbed and I was thrown out of the garda station.”

Judge Ó Donnabháin said: “I did not throw you out. I gave you as much time… I was going to say rope.

I will adjourn it to May 22, 2019. What I suggest you do is look at this thing realistically, it is not going to go away, or else you are going to go way. Put your best foot forward.

Detective Garda Malcolm Walsh said that on March 29, 2016, €58,000 was lodged in the defendant’s account in error.

He had previously purchased shares through a firm of stockbrokers and at that time there was no money in his account.

The money which should have transferred to another client of the stockbrokers went through to the defendant’s account instead.

“Following discovery of the error he admitted receiving money but failed to engage with them. He withdrew the money almost immediately and made no efforts to find out the cause of the error. When he was notified of the error he made no effort to pay it back," Detective Garda Walsh said.

Defence barrister, Niamh Stewart, previously said O’Connor said that his son died and he used €22,000 of it to pay for the funeral.

Keith O’Connor, 49, of 15 Kilnap Green, Farranree, Cork, pleaded guilty to a theft charge which states that on March 2, 2016, the defendant dishonestly appropriated €58,000 at AIB bank, Blackpool Retail Park, Cork.

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