A former garda who stole thousands of euro from colleagues and an elderly woman will be sentenced tomorrow for theft and fraud charges.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that David Foran, aged 30, stole more than €7,000 over a two-month period after his debts spiralled out of control following his wedding.
He has been dismissed from the gardaí and his marriage has ended.
Foran responded to a burglary at an elderly woman’s home and found she had hidden nearly €2,000 in her bedroom. He later returned to steal the cash. He also collected money from his colleagues to organise events which he then used to pay his own debts.
Foran, of Kinsale in Co Cork, and formerly based at Fitzgibbon St station, Dublin, pleaded guilty to the theft of property worth €1,950 from an 82-year-old woman in Phibsboro between Oct 10 and 17, 2009. He also pleaded guilty to four counts of stealing money collected from his colleagues and one count of using a false instrument at Jury’s Hotel, Limerick, all between Oct and Nov 2009.
Det Insp Francis Sweeney told prosecuting counsel, Michael Bowman BL, that Foran had responded to a burglary at the home of the elderly woman. Burglars had broken in but left without taking anything.
When Foran arrived with a colleague the woman showed them the pillow cases where she kept her money. She received a pension from An Post, where she worked all her life, and kept the money at home as she did not trust banks.
The woman left for Cork the next day during which time Foran returned. He got in to the property by telling the management he was continuing his investigation and while there he took the money.
When she discovered the money was missing, the woman phoned gardaí, who began an investigation.
The investigating garda passed the case to Foran, who said he would take care of it. However, he never contacted the woman again.
Suspicions about Foran were raised after the woman wrote a letter of complaint about the lack of follow-up.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring asked Insp Sweeney about the wellbeing of the woman. Insp Sweeney said the woman’s health had deteriorated and she believed this was a result of the ordeal. She is now living in a nursing home.
The court also heard how Foran organised collections for events for his colleagues including a Christmas party in Jury’s Hotel in Limerick.
He collected cash for the event but used this to pay his debts. When he had to make part-payment for the hotel after the event he used a credit card number belonging to a colleague along with a forged letter of authorisation on Garda headed note paper.
Other incidents of theft from colleagues included a collection for a garda who was leaving and a collection for a trip to Liverpool for a soccer match.
An investigation began after the Jury’s incident when his colleague noticed money missing on his card. Foran was arrested as he started work on Dec 3, 2009.
As he sat in the back of the Garda car he confessed to stealing from the elderly woman and blamed his debts for his actions. He was suspended from the force and eventually dismissed.
The court heard that Foran’s family have helped him with his debts and all money has been repaid.
Judge Ring adjourned sentencing until tomorrow.
‘I promise to repay everyone’
Defence counsel for Foran, Ronan Munro BL, said he had made full admissions in interview and wrote a letter of apologies to his victims.
In letter sent to his former colleagues, Foran said he had “never been good with money”, adding: “I promise I will pay everyone back.”
He said everyone was “screaming at me for money”, and that he had become depressed after falling into serious debt.
“I will forever regret disgracing my unit and I’m forever sorry,” he said.
He told gardaí he owed nearly €500,000, including a €370,000 mortgage and debts to credit unions. Mr Munro told the court that Foran had tried to kill himself, but described it as a “cry for help” rather than a genuine attempt.
On some occasions only €23 remained in his take-home pay after weekly debt repayments.
Counsel said his marriage broke down in June 2010 because of the financial strain and the home has been repossessed.
Foran stared at the ground throughout much of the hearing and looked distraught when he was remanded in custody.
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