A former assistant manager who stole almost €100,000 from his employer was later re-hired by the same company in a non-cash role, a court has heard.
Ionel Uveges (aged 31) of Haddington Square, Beggarsbush, Dublin, pleaded guilty to sample counts representing 22 charges of stealing cash from LJM Retail, Gordon House, Dublin 4 between December 2016 and August 2018.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Uveges stole €97,900 in total from his employer, who nonetheless decided to take him back on as he had a “particular fondness” for the accused.
At a sentence hearing at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today, Garda Brian Hunt told the judge he found it “hard to understand, personally” how the injured party had re-hired Uveges.
Gda Hunt agreed with Kieran Kelly BL, prosecuting, that although trust had been broken, the employer had “built up a certain bond” with Uveges and felt he was part of their family business.
“His employer hasn’t turned his back on Uveges,” explained Mr Kelly.
"He took Uveges on in a non-cash role to help him out as he was getting married."
The court heard that Uveges, now earning the minimum wage, was fully committed to repaying the money and was doing so at a rate of €1,000 a month.
He has repaid €7,000 so far and agreed to pay a further €10,000 by the date of his next court appearance in a fortnight’s time.
The court heard that Uveges, a Romanian who has been in Ireland for 10 years, started working with LJM Retail in 2013 and was promoted to assistant manager in 2016. He had specific responsibility for cash management and had to order certain amounts of currencies for the shop tills.
Sgt Hunt said that after concerns were raised about certain transactions, it emerged that Uveges had been ordering amounts that weren’t required and disposing of emails and documentation of these transactions.
When confronted, Uveges made immediate admissions to the manager and met with gardaí by appointment.
When asked what he had spent the money on, Uveges replied: “I went on a few city breaks.
"I don’t do drugs or gambling; I just spent it on life”.
The court heard Uveges had also spent money on rent, bills and sending cash home to his mother in Armenia.
Uveges has no previous convictions and has not come to garda attention since.
Leonora Frawley BL, defending, said Uveges had shown remorse at all stages and was prepared to repay all the money, however long it took. She said Uveges and his now-wife had been struggling to make ends meet.
Sgt Hunt agreed with counsel that the offending had arisen as a result of a mistake whereby Uveges had forgotten to lodge money one day and noticed that it wasn’t traced.
“It became very easy after that,” agreed the garda.
Judge Patricia Ryan adjourned sentencing until July 26.