Gambling addict took €13k using forged cheques

A MAN with a gambling addiction who got access to the chequebook of a neighbouring farmer withdrew more than €13,000.

The accused wrote some cheques to himself and cashed them, the Circuit Court sitting in Tralee heard yesterday.

John Daly, aged 39, of Knocklebede, Kilcummin, Killarney, Co Kerry, pleaded guilty to 23 counts of using a false instrument — forged cheques — to draw a total of €13,445 between August 2008 and August 2009.

The court heard the accused had worked part-time as a labourer for farmer William Healy, of Clashnagarrane, Kilcummin. When Mr Healy was doing his accounts at the end of the year, large discrepancies were found, with both stubs and cheques missing.

Garda Chris Manton said the accused made out some of the cheques to “pay cash” and others to himself.

He co-operated with gardaí and admitted forging a signature purporting to be that of Mr Healy to the cheques for sums ranging from €400 to €1,000, witness said in reply to prosecuting counsel Tom Rice.

Defence counsel Brian McInerney said Daly had a serious gambling addiction. Chasing his losses became an all-consuming activity.

“He is now coming to terms with that difficulty and is very remorseful,” said Mr McInerney. “He saw an opportunity to start feeding his addiction problem and this carried on for about 12 months. He’s anxious to make restitution and is unlikely to ever come before the court again.”

Judge Moran warned the accused faced the possibility of a two-year prison sentence if he did not address his addiction and make restitution to Bank of Ireland.

The judge put the accused under the care of the probation service and adjourned the case until July.

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