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Sunday 21 September 2014

Former solicitor admits stealing €2.8m from family's law firm

Andrew Phelan

Published 16/01/2014 | 13:03

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Ruairi O'Ceallaigh, leaves the CCJ in Dublin, Picture credit; Damien Eagers / Evening Herald 5/12/2013
Ruairi O Ceallaigh (42) entered a guilty plea to multiple theft charges when he appeared in Dublin District Court this morning.

A FORMER solicitor has admitted stealing €2.8 million in client funds from his family's law firm.

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Ruairi O Ceallaigh (42) entered a guilty plea to multiple theft charges when he appeared in Dublin District Court this morning.

He is charged with seven counts of misappropriating the money over a four-year period, following his arrest by Fraud Squad detectives last month.

Judge Patricia McNamara sent him forward on a "signed plea" to the present sittings of Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

This means a plea can be entered at District Court level on an indictable charge that is to be dealt with in the Circuit Court.

After a State Solicitor told Judge McNamara of the plea, she sent him forward to the present sittings of the Circuit Court, on February 7.

Mr O Ceallaigh, with an address at Collegeland, Summerhill, Co Meath is charged with dishonestly appropriating seven aggregate sums of money between €75,000 and €1.5m, the property of Sean O Ceallaigh and Co on dates between July 2006 and May 2010.

The sums relate to the estate of one person and client accounts of another six and the charges are all under the Theft and Fraud Offences Act.

Ruairi O Ceallaigh was partner in the highly respected Dublin law firm Sean O Ceallaigh & Co Solicitors with his brother Cormac O Ceallaigh. There is no suggestion that Cormac O Ceallaigh or Sean O Ceallaigh were involved in any wrongdoing.

Previously, Det Sgt Paschal Walsh of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation told the court he arrested the defendant at Chancery Street on December 5 and brought him to the Bridewell Garda Station where he was charged.

Det Sgt Walsh said the accused made no comment when the charges were put to him. The court heard the DPP was directing trial on indictment.

Judge McNamara had set bail in the accused's own bond of €200. No cash lodgements were required and no other bail conditions were sought.

Det Sgt Walsh had confirmed to the judge that he was satisfied with these terms and would "not have to investigate".

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