A Bank of Ireland computer specialist who defrauded his employers out of over €40,000 by increasing the overdraft on his girlfriend’s account has received a three-year suspended sentence and 240 hours community service.
Wiktor Wolcaski (aged 29), of Castleknock Rise, Castleknock but originally from Poland, said he needed the money because his girlfriend had an unnamed medical problem which he believed required an operation.
Wolcaski pleaded guilty to seven counts of theft and using a computer for fraud in March and February 2008.
Judge Katherine Delahunt noted the ease with which Wolcaski carried out his offence and said: “I’m sure it’s been a lesson to the banks.”
Detective Garda Michael Kilfeather told prosecuting counsel, Garret Baker BL, Wolcaski had been living in Ireland since 2005 and had got a job in the Debt Recovery Unit of Bank of Ireland, based in Ferry House on Mount Street.
In September 2007, his girlfriend opened a Bank Of Ireland account. Shortly afterwards, Wolcaski began to gradually alter her account by increasing its overdraft and credit rating.
He initially raised the daily withdrawal limit to the maximum of €1,300 a day. He then increased the overdraft limit several times until it reached €47,000. Finally, he altered the credit rating to make it look more favourable to lend to.
Over the course of two months, Wolcaski went to ATM machines across the city daily and usually withdrew the maximum amount allowed.
An alert system highlighted the unusual withdrawals to Gerry Gibson in the Fraud Prevention Unit of the bank. He investigated and the changes were easily traced back to Wolcaski as they had been made under his user name. Gardaí were called in and Wolcaski was arrested.
He made immediate admissions and claimed he did not think it was illegal as the system allowed him to make the changes. He said he thought he had discovered “a gap in procedure” and believed if the bank found out they would merely tell him not to do it anymore.
He said he needed the money for a medical procedure for his girlfriend. Det Gda Kilfeather said he seemed to be “obsessed with his girlfriend’s health” despite her having no diagnosed medical condition.
He said he checked the prices of the medical procedure on the internet but he did not tell his girlfriend this because “she would think I am crazy".
He said he was sorry for the theft claimed he was “a very good employee” other than this. He has no previous convictions and has never come to garda attention before.
Det Gda Kilfeather agreed with Ronan Kennedy BL, defending, that Wolcaski’s girlfriend knew nothing about the scam and it was him who withdrew the money.
Bank of Ireland recovered most of the money from his home and other banks whose ATMs Wolcaski used to make withdrawals. The outstanding balance of €3,000 was repaid by Wolcaski.
Det Gda Kilfeather agreed his admissions helped avoid a complex and time-consuming investigation.
Mr Kennedy said his client came from Wroclaw in Poland and his father was a bank manager.