Teen charity says treasurer 'misappropriated €161,000'
Published 07/07/2016 | 02:30
A State-funded charity providing supports to disadvantaged teenagers has claimed a board member misappropriated up to €161,000.
The allegation was made in proceedings initiated yesterday by Carline Learning Centre against its treasurer, Greg Walsh.
It is claimed most of the cash was paid through cheques to Mr Walsh's business, Walsh & Company Accountants.
Some of the diverted money was supposed to have been used to cover PAYE and PRSI obligations. But it is claimed the cash was not handed over to the Revenue Commissioners, leaving the Dublin-based charity owing €72,500 in taxes.
The charity, which receives over €500,000-a-year from State bodies and has offices in Lucan, was given permission by the High Court to serve proceedings on Mr Walsh at short notice.
The matter will return to the court today, where lawyers for the charity have been asked to provide further information before they can apply for orders seeking the repayment of the cash and information about the whereabouts of the money.
A complaint was submitted by the charity to gardaí on Tuesday, the Irish Independent understands. Sources said Mr Walsh, with an address in Chapelizod, had stepped aside voluntarily from the board.
He did not return calls seeking comment last night.
An affidavit entered in court from the charity's chairman, John McKernan, said concerns about financial irregularities stretching back to 2014 surfaced in May and June of this year.
He said "a limited investigation" was carried out after it was discovered Revenue liabilities had not been paid.
Mr McKernan said that Mr Walsh had been appointed treasurer in May 2014 and had been completely trusted and relied upon to maintain the charity's books and ensure all of its bills were paid.
He said the investigation "revealed what can only be described as serious irregularities in certain books and records".
It was discovered that entries in the stubs of the charity's cheque book which indicated cheques had been drawn down in favour of the Revenue in fact related to cheques paid to Mr Walsh's company.
When challenged on the issue, Mr Walsh wrote to the charity on June 14 saying that the accounts were up to date.
But Mr McKernan's affidavit said Mr Walsh failed to offer any credible explanation.
It described a letter written by Mr Walsh as "a work of fiction which was not in any way substantiated by paperwork and figures to hand".
Barrister Eamon Marray, for Carline, read out details regarding around a dozen cheques, ranging in value from €4,000 to €27,000, which had been made out to Mr Walsh's firm.
A further cheque for €4,280 was made out to a company called Bezique Ltd, which had no connection to Carline.
A sum of €7,860 was paid to a "W Banks", who had no association with the charity.
Mr Justice Paul Gilligan said the court had to be provided with full information, including documentation outlining sums owed to Revenue.
He said the allegations were serious ones, involving "deceit, fraud and embezzlement" and he wanted to be satisfied the charity had put its claims to Mr Walsh.
Mr Justice Gilligan also questioned why there was no letter to Mr Walsh setting out Carline's concerns when the payments went back to 2014.
He also questioned whether certain payments could have been Mr Walsh's fees, but was told by Mr Marray they were not as his role was voluntary.