independent

Friday 19 September 2014

Convicted of €219k theft from solicitors

Published 09/08/2014 | 12:00

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Cullen Tyrell and O'Beirne Solicitors in Bray

A Greystones man who stole approximately €219,000 from a firm of solicitors over the course of five years was jailed for three years last week.

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A Greystones man who stole approximately €219,000 from a firm of solicitors over the course of five years was jailed for three years last week.

David Hanafin (51), Apartment 69, Priory Court, Eden Gate, Delgany, pleaded guilty to 24 sample charges of theft from Cullen, Tyrell and O'Beirne Solicitors, Prince of Wales Terrace, Bray, between May 2006 and May 2011.

The court heard that Hanafin was employed as a book keeper/practice manager with Cullen, Tyrell and O'Beirne and had the authority to write company cheques. Twenty-two of the charges related to the theft of cheques where Hanafin wrote cheques, cashed them and pocketed the money himself. The final two sample charges referred to petty cash Hanafin had stolen.

Hanafin, the court heard, didn't have any debts but used the money he stole to 'supplement his own income'. He continued to take the money over the years because 'it was easy'. In 2011, an external audit noticed something amiss and the gardaí were contacted.

Acting for Hanafin, Raymond Comyn, SC, said Hanafin suffers from heart problems and depression and is the sole carer of his father. He said Hanafin previously had an 'impeccable record and this is quite plainly out of character'. He said Hanafin had been 'exceptionally cooperative' with gardaí and had expressed genuine remorse. However, he said that there was no reality of repaying the money because of Hanafin's personal circumstances.

He said Hanafin is 'not a good candidate for prison'. Mr. Comyn said Hanafin's job prospects were poor because 'no employer would employ him now in a position of trust in light of these circumstances'.

Judge Michael O'Shea said the total money stolen by Hanafin was approximately €219,000 – €180,000 from cheque and €39,000 from cash.

He said the theft was 'systematic' over a number of years and Hanafin 'breached and abused his position'.

He said the probation report indicated Hanafin had genuine remorse for his actions. Judge O'Shea sentenced him to five years' imprisonment on each of the charges and directed that they run concurrently. He suspended the final two years of each of the sentences.

Bray People

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