Gambling addict stole €135k from restaurant

A former teacher who led a “remarkably ordinary life” until he became addicted to online poker in his 60s is to be sentenced for defrauding an Eddie Rockets restaurant of €135,000.

John Carlos, aged 74, who was also a part-time accountant, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to forging signatures on cheques, altering amounts, and stealing money from his former employer, Eddie Rockets franchise owner Peter Fortune, on dates between 2005 and 2008.

The court heard Carlos, of Bolands Court, Gort, Co Galway, had been a respected teacher and accountant until he became a “hopeless and deeply addicted gambler”.

Mr Fortune, who had been operating a franchise of Eddie Rockets in Stillorgan, and Carlos were the only signatories on the company’s cheques from Permanent TSB, the court heard. Mr Fortune later discovered that some of the signatures purporting to be his were not genuine, while other signatures were his but the amounts on the cheque had been altered.

Carlos’s bank account showed numerous amounts going to the Paddy Power online poker website.

In April 2011, Carlos called to Blackrock Garda Station and admitted defrauding his employer via dozens of cheques, totalling €135,000. He told gardaí he had lost about €150,000 gambling.

Douglas Gageby, for Carlos, said his client’s gambling has caused substantial fallout in his family.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring expressed concern at the fact that Carlos has only done “limited work” to address his gambling addiction, even though she noted he is unlikely to reoffend because of his practical circumstances. She directed a probation report be prepared to consider some form of restorative justice.

Carlos was remanded for sentencing on June 5.


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