Karl Smith, aged 19, was due to get €196.36 for two days work with Industrial Insulation Specialists but €19,639 was lodged when the decimal point was put in the wrong place during the bank transfer.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Smith was anxiously awaiting his wages and was “flabbergasted” when he rang his bank to check his balance.
He withdrew most of the cash over three transactions before spending the balance through use of a debit card.
Shaun Smyth, defending, said it was a bizarre and unusual situation and when the money fell into his client’s lap, “an incredible temptation was presented to him”. He said Smith was in a very low place at the time. He had a drug debt of €1,000 and he “felt like all his prayers had been answered”.
Smith spent the cash within three weeks on drugs, socialising, gambling, a new bed, and a Playstation.
Mr Smyth said his client assumed it had been a banking error and only became aware three weeks later that the money had come from his former boss.
Smith, of Rutland Avenue, Crumlin, Dublin pleaded guilty to theft of the cash from John Naughton on January 21, 2016.
Judge Melanie Greally sentenced Smith to four years in prison with the final two suspended.