A bank official stole over €44,000 from the AIB in Co Cork where she worked over a period of several years was yesterday given a three-year suspended sentence.
Jacqueline O’Connor, who lives at Huyton, Merseyside, Liverpool, pleaded guilty to sample counts on an 85-charge indictment at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
Detective Garda Michael Brosnan gave evidence in the case against O’Connor. He said it came to the attention of AIB in Bandon in July 2012; an internal investigation was commenced and gardaí were notified.
In summary, he said there had been a large number of fraudulent transactions carried out on three different accounts.
In respect of one of those accounts, O’Connor made 20 separate withdrawals between August 2011 and July 2012, taking amounts of between €300 and €1,850 to a total of over €17,000.
The fraudulent transactions in relation to two other accounts had commenced in 2007 and 2008 and took the form of student loan accounts that were set up in the name of her two adult children but without their knowledge.
Using these accounts, she managed to take over €18,000 through one of them and over €8,000 in respect of another.
Det Garda Brosnan said the fraud carried out in respect of these student loans was more crafted than the withdrawals from the account totalling over €17,000. O’Connor used her knowledge of the workings of the bank to carry out the offences, he said.
When O’Connor ran into difficulties with the bogus loan accounts, she resorted to stealing from the other account in an effort to keep up with a situation that was spiralling out of control.
Det Garda Brosnan said O’Connor had left Bandon and was now living in the UK, where she worked as a carer. He said there was nothing to indicate anything of an extravagant nature in her lifestyle. The crimes occurred at a time when her marriage ended and she had an alcohol problem.
Ray Boland, defending, said O’Connor was alone in trying to keep the family finances together at that time and that these problems were compounded by a serious alcohol addiction.
“She is very ashamed and this is one of the reasons she moved to England,” he said. “She described it as voluntary exile due to shame. She has genuine remorse.”
He said that, unlike other cases of this kind, there was no extravagance in terms of using money for shopping or gambling or such matters.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said O’Connor did not have the means to make any repayment to the bank and there were signs of genuine remorse. In all the circumstances, the judge said a sentence of three years was appropriate, all of which was suspended.
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