Pictured: Camogie star who stole €28,000 from barrister to use for online shopping
Published 20/07/2016 | 02:30
A GAA star has been given a suspended sentence for stealing more than €28,000 from a barrister to use for online shopping.
Dinah Loughlin (30) stole the money over five years working as a legal secretary for Marguerite Bolger, a senior counsel specialising in employment law.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that during the period Loughlin, of Kilbeggan, Westmeath, undertook transcription work for other barristers. However, she then used Ms Bolger's account to pay a stenography service to complete the work.
She also shopped online at Asos, River Island and Amazon, and spent hundreds of euro on 'One for All' gift cards from an office supply website.
Loughlin, who plays inter-county camogie for Westmeath, has since repaid her former employer with money she and her partner were saving for a wedding. She also sold her car.
Loughlin pleaded guilty to 20 sample counts of theft at the Law Library, Dublin, between 2009 and 2014.
The court heard Ms Bolger has taken a "very benevolent view" of the offending. The barrister reported the matter to gardaí only for professional reasons and to ensure it never happened again, prosecuting counsel Anne Rowland said.
Judge Melanie Greally said Loughlin had breached the trust of her employer even though she didn't seem to be under any financial pressures at the time. In mitigation, the judge noted Loughlin's repayment of the money.
Judge Greally said Loughlin was "perilously close" to going to jail. She imposed a two-year sentence, suspended for two years.
Garda Stephen Faulkner said Ms Bolger trusted Loughlin with her credit cards and account details. The barrister would ask Loughlin to make personal purchases online on her behalf. Sometimes Loughlin would be allowed use the accounts to make purchases for herself on the understanding she would repay Ms Bolger.
Ms Bolger had a good relationship with Loughlin and never checked these accounts.
However, in 2014 she was alerted to a strange transaction. When she asked her assistant about it, Loughlin assured her it was a mistake.
In August 2014 the barrister noticed another unauthorised payment. Loughlin again said it was a mistake but Ms Bolger decided to spend the weekend going through her various card and online accounts.
When the thefts were uncovered Loughlin was suspended. She claimed she had bought the items unintentionally because she was so used to using Ms Bolger's cards. She resigned a short time later via text message.
Defence counsel Oisin Clarke said Loughlin, who was named on the Camogie Association's 2014 'Soaring Stars' team, suffered great stress when the theft was uncovered.