Gambler jailed for €832k theft from insurance clients

A chronic gambler who stole over €832,000 from clients while he worked in Dublin as a Canada Life agent has been jailed for four and a half years.

Gambler jailed for €832k theft from insurance clients

Martin Reilly, aged 59, convinced 18 of his clients to take money out of their existing Canada Life insurance policies and reinvest in other company products that did not exist. He instead put the money into an EBS account under his own name.

Reilly, with an address at West Side Estates, Togher, Cork, affirmed signed pleas of guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 80 counts of stealing money from clients between 2002 and 2011. He has no previous convictions.

Detective Garda Niamh Seberry told John Quirke, prosecuting, that Canada Life had reimbursed all the victims and was at a loss of €1.2m between repayments and compensation.

Det Gda Seberry revealed that a client had contacted Canada Life in 2011 about a policy that had lapsed due to non-payment.

This client informed the company that the money had gone to Reilly, who had worked at Canada Life as a tied agent since 1997.

The company terminated Reilly’s job and he confessed to having a gambling addiction at an arranged meeting with his former employer. Reilly admitted gambling the money he stole and produced a list of the clients involved.

He presented himself at Drogheda Garda Station and told gardaí he had started out taking small amounts, but that, over time, the sums increased.

Det Gda Seberry said Reilly told her “he wished he had been caught earlier as it had gotten out of hand and he lost everything to gambling”. The detective accepted when Jonathan Kilfeather, defending, suggested his client had gone to gardaí before Canada Life acted on the matter. She further accepted that Reilly has not come to garda attention since.

Mr Kilfeather submitted to Judge Martin Nolan that his client had lost his job, his social circle and had his pension frozen.

Counsel said Reilly was deeply remorseful, had since sought treatment with Gamblers Anonymous and gave talks in schools and groups about gambling.

Judge Nolan noted that “gambling is a pernicious activity and has brought down many a good man and woman”. He accepted Reilly was unlikely to come before the courts again, but said he had to sentence on the “pattern of misbehaviour over a prolonged period of time”.

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