Accountant bought piano using company cheque

One company cheque was made out for the purchase of a piano for his family by an accountant who defrauded a hospitality business.

Kieran O’Halloran, aged 44, a separated father of three, of Keelgrove, Ardnacrusha, pleaded guilty at Limerick Circuit Court to 15 counts of theft involving sums totalling about €50,000 from two companies — Mullally Taverns and Racefield Catering which ran Russells bar and Franz restaurant in Raheen.

He also admitted falsifying loan applications at KBC bank for professional fees he said were due to him from another business amounting to €18,225. Some of the money O’Halloran stole was actually due to Revenue and as a result of this money not being paid, penalties were imposed on the companies, sparking a full Revenue audit.

Det Garda Donal Moynihan told the court that between September 2008 and April 2009, the accused was working for businessman, Raphael Mullally, who was a director of companies which ran the bar and restaurant. Up to then O’Halloran practised as an accountant.

Mr Mullally engaged him in 2008 as a financial controller for his business. O’Halloran was in charge of credit controls, cash flow, purchasing, and managing the company financial matters in general. As part of his duties, he was authorised to write cheques and sign them to pay various suppliers and landlords. However, he diverted money to himself.

After a number of suppliers complained to Mr Mullally about not getting paid, he confronted O’Halloran. The extent of the fraud then unfolded and the gardaí were alerted. When questioned, O’Halloran made admissions to the gardaí and surrendered his passport.

The total amount missing from Mr Mullally’s business was in the region of €50,000, but Det Garda Moynihan said it was difficult to come to an exact sum as the company books were in an appalling state.

The court was told O’Halloran was involved in defrauding KBC bank out of €18,225, by filling in loan applications for another business on the pretext the money was for professional fees owed to him by the business. The business only learned of this when they received a letter from the bank.

Michael Collins, defending, said O’Halloran’s was an ugly fall from grace. He said O’Halloran asked that he be allowed make a positive contribution to society, discharge his debts, raise his children, and restore his good name. He said O’Halloran has paid back €35,000.

Judge Tom O’Donnell remanded O’Halloran on bail until sentencing on July 22.


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