Suspended sentence for mother who stole €18,000 from employer

A separated mother who stole €18,000 from her employer when she ran into financial difficulties after her marriage ended has been given a suspended sentence and ordered to perform 200 hours community service.

Jennifer Good (aged 39), of The Way, Huntersrun, Clonee, stamped blank betting dockets when she was alone in the store, later filling in winning details and collecting cash. She has since repaid all the money taken.

Good pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to five sample counts of theft from Pat McManus Bookmakers, Little Pace Shopping Centre, Clonee on dates between November 2004 and June 2005.

Judge Katherine Delahunt noted a positive probation report was before the court which outlined Good’s remorse and assessed her to be at low risk of re-offending.

Judge Delahunt imposed concurrent one year sentences on three of the counts and made two community service orders of 100 hours each on the final two counts in lieu of one years imprisonment.

Garda Peter Cooney told Mr Séan Guerin BL, prosecuting, that the thefts came to light when Good’s employer, Mr Brian Murray, happened to observe her put a betting docket through the system when she was alone in the shop.

Gda Cooney said Mr Murray decided to do an audit and found 180 suspicious dockets. These bets had all been placed while Good was on duty and had all been settled by Good. He also noted that the dockets were all in pristine condition which was unusual.

The dates on the dockets ranged from November 2004, when Good had started work in the shop, to June 2005 and approximately €18,000 was taken in total.

Gda Cooney said Good readily admitted the thefts when arrested and fully co-operated with gardai.

Good told gardaí she was paid €80 a day and had began stamping blank dockets after a security camera was removed. She said she would stamp the docket, fill the winning details in later and collect cash. She said she would put through two or three dockets every day she worked and taken up to €300 a time.

Gda Cooney said Good had no previous convictions and was separated from her husband with whom she had two young children.

Mr Luán Ó Braonáin SC, defending Good, said she had had difficulties with maintenance payments from her husband, which has now been resolved, after their separation and had run into arrears in the mortgage and other bills.

Mr Ó Braonáin said she had collected €18,000 from various sources to repay her employer and felt a great deal of shame for her actions. He said she was unlikely to come to garda attention again and asked the court to treat her as leniently as possible.

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