A woman who transferred more than €100,000 from her employer to a man who made “implied threats” has received an 18-month suspended sentence.
Annette Sheehan (aged 38) with an address at Laurence Court, Mount Argus Road, Harolds Cross, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 27 charges of theft and money laundering of €148,289 on dates between November 2017 and February 2018.
Detective Garda Rory O'Connor told Diana Stuart BL, prosecuting, that Sheehan was working as an office manager for a solicitor's office and that the solicitor received a call from a local bank manager saying that his account had been frozen due to suspicious transfers.
When asked about the transfers Sheehan confessed to making them on behalf of a man, Graham McAuley (aged 39), with whom she was in a relationship. She told the solicitor that if she had not transferred the money then there would have been trouble.
Gda O'Connor agreed with Michael Higgins SC, defending, that prior to taking money from her employer she gave McAuley almost all of her life savings. He said that while all of the money taken from her employer was recovered, none of the €25,000 she gave McAuley has been returned.
He said that Sheehan and McAuley met through an online dating site and he began to ask her for money. He claimed he had means, but he could not currently access his accounts and manipulated her by saying the money was a short-term loan.
Gda O'Connor said there was a degree of intimidation involved and that McAuley made “implied threats”. He said it was his opinion that she was “absolutely hoodwinked” and that he considered her as also being a victim.
Sheehan has no previous convictions.
McAuley of Broc House, Nutley Lane, Dublin 4, was sentenced last February after he pleaded guilty to handling the stolen cash. He was ordered to carry out 240 hours community service in lieu of an 18-month prison sentence.
In sentencing Sheehan, Judge Cormac Quinn took into account the fact that she made admissions to both her employer and gardaí, that she expressed remorse and shame and that “every penny was recovered”.
He said it was “clear there was an element of fear” within Sheehan's relationship with McAuley and that she had lost both her savings and her employment.
He acknowledged that a psychological report, which stated that Sheehan was “vulnerable to being abused and exploited” also put her at a low risk of re-offending.
Judge Quinn said, given Sheehan's personal circumstances, her co-operation with the investigation and the fact that the garda has spoken up for her, he was satisfied that it was a “rare case that falls within exceptional cases and justifies a suspended sentence”.
He sentenced Sheehan to 18 months in prison which he suspended in full on strict conditions.