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Friday 22 September 2017

An Post manager 'bet millions'

Investigation reveals huge scale of gambling by worker who went missing

Tom Brady Security Editor

A senior post office manager, who went missing last week as a massive suspected fraud was discovered at his branch, had gambled several million euro in recent years.

The family of Tony O'Reilly (36) have admitted he has a gambling addiction that spiralled out of control in recent months.

Details of the extent of his gambling problem have yet to be fully established but it is understood that several million euro were wagered in betting transactions over a few years. Those transactions included winning as well as losing bets.

A large proportion of the bets were placed through online and telephone services provided for customers by a bookmaking firm.

In their statement, the family blamed the availability of those facilities for their son's "predicament".

Mr O'Reilly, who is from Carlow town, remained under medical care last night after he was tracked down on Saturday to Belfast where he had placed a winning €40,000 bet on an odds-on shot to win €27,000.

The father of one disappeared on Wednesday morning as internal auditors discovered alleged financial irregularities amounting to €1.76m at his branch in Gorey, Co Wexford.

Amid concerns about his health, he was reported as a missing person and the PSNI found him in the home of a friend and located his car nearby.

Bookmakers

Meanwhile, auditors from An Post have begun an in-depth investigation of the accounts at Gorey branch to establish when the suspected fraud started and determine how it was carried out. This is expected to be a lengthy process as the auditors examine every logged transaction on the books and compile a report for the gardai.

Local officers were being backed up by detectives from the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation as they initiate their inquiries, following a detailed complaint from An Post on Friday.

Officers are expected to meet senior An Post representatives this week for a more comprehensive briefing on the alleged discrepancies in the accounts.

During their inquiries gardai will seek to interview all of the staff at the Gorey office as they try to piece together what had taken place there in recent months.

But it is likely to be some time before they are in a position to interview Mr O'Reilly and they will need approval from his medical advisers.

Officers are also expected to seek to interview bookmakers used by Mr O'Reilly to place substantial bets to examine his gambling patterns over the past few years.

An Post has assured its customers in Gorey that the investigation will not impact in any way on retail or mail services at the branch in the town.

Irish Independent

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