AN employee with a serious gambling addiction has been given a two-year suspended sentence for stealing almost €50,000 from a Brown Thomas store.
Jennifer Keady (36), a single mother, from Boireann Beag, Roscam, Galway, crashed her car and took a drugs overdose before finally admitting her guilt to gardai.
Keady first appeared before Galway Circuit Criminal Court in April where she pleaded guilty to the theft of €49,800 from Brown Thomas, Eglinton Street, Galway, between March 1 and August 27 last year.
Detective Sgt Willie Byrne told the sentencing hearing that Keady started working in the cash office at the store in October 2011 and took over the office in 2012 after another employee fell seriously ill.
She immediately began to misappropriate cash which was being delivered on a regular basis by a security company and issued false lodgment slips to the value of €49,800 to cover her tracks.
Keady claimed she had sent this money back to the security company, but they had no record of it.
Staff at Brown Thomas called in the gardai and they went to Keady's home on September 21, 2012, where they found a pencil case containing €3,500 during the search.
Keady calculated she had stolen €52,000 but managed to repay €2,200 before she was caught. She realised she could never repay the money as she had gambled it away and she always knew she would be eventually found out.
Judge Rory McCabe described it as "an amateurish scheme of dishonesty" where Keady had been presented with a temptation she could not resist.
He directed the €3,500 found in the pencil case along with the €1,000 be returned to the store and said justice would not be served by sending the accused to prison.
Her early plea, her remorse and her efforts to seek help for her addiction merited a two-year sentence, which he suspended for five years.