Shopping centre manager stole €22k from tenants

A former manager of Douglas Village shopping centre in Cork was jailed for four years yesterday for stealing €22,000 entrusted to him in rents from commercial tenants for the owners.

Aidan Crowne, originally from Norwood Court, Rochestown, Cork, was jailed yesterday at Cork Circuit Criminal Court. 

Detective Garda James O’Reilly said the misappropriation occurred during a period when Crowne was manager at the centre. 

Some 15 different cheques were handed to him for rents on properties within the centre. He cashed the cheques for himself.

By the time the complaint was made to gardaí about the 2008 offences, Crowne was living outside of the country.

Donal O’Sullivan, defending, said the 40-year-old had worked very successfully in the retail trade to the point where he had reached the pinnacle of this career by his mid-20s when he was made manager of Douglas Village shopping centre.

However, he had a chronic gambling addiction and massive debts from this.

He stole this money by lodging the cheques into his account making no effort to conceal the crimes.

Judge Gerard O’Brien said the sentence will run concurrently with a five-year sentence imposed last November after he was caught with €439,000 worth of drugs 10 years ago — described yesterday as another desperate effort to pay for his gambling addiction.

Mr O’Sullivan said the gambling addiction got so out of control that he clocked up debts of hundreds of thousands of euro.

Crowne pleaded guilty to having drugs for sale or supply at time when they exceeded €13,000 arising out of the seizure of drugs in a car and a house at Kilquane, Castletownroche, Co Cork, on November 19, 2008.

Mr O’Sullivan said the defendant’s mother died and not long afterwards his only sibling died. 

Crowne decided to return to Ireland to face the cases against him.

Dermot Sheehan, prosecuting, said no recompense was ever paid by the accused for the thefts.

Mr O’Sullivan said, “He is deeply, deeply sorry for what he did. He is sorry because it was wrong. 

"He is sorry because he did it to people who were extremely good to him. He attends Gamblers Anonymous meetings now.”

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