The former postmaster at Crosshaven post office, who was described as well-liked and active in his community, was given an 18-month suspended sentence yesterday for scamming pensioners and others out of €43,000 over 12 years.
Adrian O’Driscoll, aged 66, of 4 Carrigdhoun, Waterpark, Carrigaline, Co Cork, was sentenced at Cork Circuit Criminal Court after confirming a signed plea of guilty to 14 sample charges arising out of the crimes.
It was the vigilance of a woman in the post office, suspicious of the way O’Driscoll carried out a transaction, that led to the uncovering of the history of thefts.
This customer wrote a letter of complaint to An Post on August 13, 2013, outlining her suspicions in relation to the over-the-counter transaction. This resulted in an internal audit by An Post, which identified 176 suspicious transactions that warranted further investigation, Sergeant Ger O’Callaghan testified yesterday during the sentencing hearing.
O’Driscoll held the position in Crosshaven from 2001 to 2013.
Sgt O’Callaghan outlined O’Driscoll’s modus operandi: A pensioner would let five weekly payments build up with a view to collecting them all together on one day. O’Driscoll would tell the pensioner he was due four and not five payments. When the pensioner left the post office the defendant would process the fifth pension payment and pocket the money.
Sgt O’Callaghan said O’Driscoll admitted stealing €43,311 through 176 transactions affecting 49 customers. An Post reimbursed the customers when it came to light. “The injured parties were not aware this had been carried out against them.”
Brendan Kelly, defending, said O’Driscoll had repaid An Post the full amount as soon as their audit began and before the Garda investigation. He said that for a man of standing in his local community, the defendant’s reputation was in tatters.
The defendant was a part-time DJ and had lent his services to many charitable ventures in the Crosshaven area over the years.
Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin said whatever charitable activities he was now active in should not include fundraising. “This was a significant, prolonged breach of trust by a man in a very trustworthy position, stealing — scamming various people out of their entitlements. It went on for a number of years.”
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