Pensioner faces 173 charges over €4m pharmacy fraud

Christine Crowley at Clonakilty Court, Co Cork, yesterday.

A pharmacy owner in West Cork has appeared before court on 173 charges of deception and false accounting on dates across a six-year period, allegedly involving more than €4m.

Christine Crowley of Main Street, Drimoleague, who is aged 71, was arrested yesterday and brought before Clonakilty District Court.

The charges relate to allegations of false accounting and deception at Crowley’s Pharmacy and Kerr’s Pharmacy, both in Dunmanway, on dates between 2004 and 2009 and in order to gain in excess of €4.5m from the HSE.

The pensioner was in court to hear superintendent Ger O’Mahony tell judge James McNulty the accused faced 173 charges.

He applied for the matter to be adjourned so that a book of evidence can be prepared.

Supt O’Mahony tendered evidence of arrest, charge, and caution by way of certificate which he handed into the court.

He also said gardaí had no objections to bail being granted and Ms Crowley’s solicitor, Ray Hennessy, acting for solicitor Frank Buttimer, told the court Ms Crowley’s husband would also provide an independent surety.

Supt O’Mahony also requested, as a special condition of bail, that Ms Crowley not contact anyone directly or indirectly involved in the investigation.

“She has been provided with copies of 173 charge sheets and names of those people would be on those charge sheets,” he said.

Ms Crowley was granted bail on her own bond of €10,000 and with her husband’s surety of €20,000.

Judge McNulty also granted the garda request for special conditions, “namely that the accused, Christine Crowley, shall not contact any person named in the charge sheets as people who have been interviewed or given statements to gardaí in relation to the alleged charges”.

The court heard the book of evidence would be “considerable in volume” and the matter will next be heard in Clonakilty on September 20, at 2pm.

The deception charges are contrary to Section 6 of the Criminal Justice Theft and Fraud Offences Act 2001, while the false accounting charges relate to Section 10 of the same act.


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