A home help nurse who stole almost €10,000 from a 92-year-old man she was caring for has been given a further week to come up with compensation.
Fiona Mubango (aged 26) claims she has the money in a bank draft which was being brought to court by her brother but that he was arrested yesterday morning for an unrelated matter and taken to Cloverhill Prison. The prison chaplain made contact with Mubango and explained the situation to her.
Judge Katherine Delahunt adjourned the case until next week and remanded Mubango in custody while the money is being tracked down.
Mubango, of New Haven Bay, Balbriggan, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to five sample counts of stealing from Mr Patrick McDonald by using two of his credit cards at various shops and ATMs between May and July 2008. €2,000 in cash was also taken from the victim’s house.
The total losses amounted to €9,657. She has two previous convictions, also for theft.
Garda Kate Brennan told Mr Remy Farrell BL, prosecuting, that Mr McDonald had surgery in 2008 and that Mubango and another carer were hired to assist him while he recovered.
Mr McDonald kept two credit cards in his north Dublin home. While working there Mubango took one of these cards and began using it to make online purchases such as spending €360 at Topshop.ie and €350 at an electrical appliances site.
She ordered these under a false name and had them delivered to Mr McDonald’s home while she was working there so she could sign for them and take them home. She later claimed to gardaí she only gave the delivery man a false name because she “thought he was a pervert.”
When these online transactions were noticed on the bill the credit card was cancelled. Mubango then stole the second card and used it to make 10 withdrawals totalling €5,200 at various ATMs.
When these withdrawals were noticed Mr McDonald’s son contacted gardaí to report the thefts. It was also noticed that €2,000 was missing from Mr McDonald’s study.
Their investigations quickly led them to Mubango and when they confronted her she denied the thefts. When gardaí searched her house they seized various electronic equipment and clothing.
Mubango claimed the items had been delivered to Mr McDonald’s house by mistake.
She later admitted the offences and offered “the most heartfelt apology” to the victim. The court heard her employers had stated they would compensate the victim and held back Mubango’s wages to do this.
She later took them to court successfully to prevent them doing so and made them pay €1,500 in wages which had already been held back.
Defence counsel, Mr Cathal McGreal BL, said Mubango had come here from Zimbabwe at 16-years-old and had started studying to be a nurse. She was forced to drop out and seek work because of financial difficulties.
He said there are difficulties in her family relating to their immigration status and she was now working as a salesperson, earning around €150 a week. He said she has also sold her car to raise compensation.
He further submitted that she has a good work record and is also involved with volunteer work.