A woman who worked as a financial consultant during the boom years but then fell on hard times admitted stealing more than €14,000 from a children's charity in which she was involved, Wexford Circuit Criminal Court heard.
A woman who worked as a financial consultant during the boom years but then fell on hard times admtting stealing more than €14,000 from a children's charity in which she was involved, Wexford Circuit Criminal Court heard last week.
Before the court was 35-year-old Laura Reville, of Newtown Grange, Kilmore Quay, who was an organiser with the charity 'Cruzin 4 Kidz', which held an annual truck and motorbike run. Her twin brother, Byran Roche, was also an organiser, but without his knowledge or the knowledge or other helpers, she forged a number of cheques and stole cash. It was her brother who reported her to Gardai.
The court heard that the mother-of-one has since paid back all the money involved. A nine-month suspended prison sentence was handed down.
Garda Ian Doyle told the court that there were eleven charges in the entire indictment, with the total sum coming to €23,596.33. He said the defendant was pleading guilty to three of them, for an amount of €9,956.33 at Kilmore Quay on an unknown date between January 2008 and April 2010; for €4,000 at Common Quay Street in Wexford on a date between June 1 and June 11, 2008; and for an approximate amount of €600 at Common Quay Street in Wexford on October 15, 2009. All the money was property of Cruzin 4 Kidz.
Garda Doyle said that the cheques were forged in the name of her twin brother, Bryan Roche. Ten cheques were written by Laura Reville between June 1, 2008, and October 19, 2010, to the amount of €14,100, while there was an amount of €9496.33 cash, which was not lodged to the account of Cruzin 4 Kidz.
Garda Doyle also told how all this money had been paid by the defendant on or before October 30 last year, and that when she was interviewed after a complaint was lodged by her brother, she said the reason she committed the offences was because she had fallen on bad times.
The defendant, he added, had no previous convictions. To pay back the money, she had left her husband and son at home, and gone to Spain to work in the financial services sector there.
Garda Doyle told Defence Counsel, Dylan Redmond, B.L., that the matters before the court all related to amount of cash from sponsorship cards and cheques written. He also said that in advance of these charges being levied and before she came to garda attention, the money had been paid back.
Garda Doyle agreed with Mr. Redmond that the defendant had travelled home from Madrid to meet with the investigating garda.
Mr. Redmond told the court that the defendant had worked in financial services with Permanent TSB in Wexford town. She set up then herself as a self-employed financial consultant but fell on hard times in what was a difficult time to set up such services.
Garda Doyle also told Mr. Redmond that he had spoken with other members of the committee. They (the committee) had no problem once the money was paid back.
Replying to Judge Hickson, Garda Doyle explained how Cruizin 4 Kidz was a charity set up by the people in Kilmore. There was no formal committee, and instead it consisted of the defendant along with other people organising events. He said the defendant had always acted alone in the offences.
Mr. Philip Cullen, who was manager of Permanent TSB during the defendant's employment there, described her as a responsible person, adding that this was totally out of character for her. He also said that during her employment, there was never any indication of any difficulties. She was very reliable and very hard-working, and he would he would have placed considerable trust in her.
Defence Counsel, Mr. Redmond, asked the court not to take into account just the nature of the offence, but also her circumstances, her character and the type of person she is. She had paid the monies back and entered a guilty plea. The garda had accepted her genuineness that she had fallen on difficult times. She took herself to Madrid to work, leaving her family behind, to get a job to pay the money back. As a result of these charges, she will not be able to hold down any similar, which will greatly affect her future.
Judge Hickson said the defendant had yieled to temptation, in what appeared to him of having been a temptation over a period of time. In mitigation, she had pleaded guilty, was remorseful, and she had made a full restitution. People have written references for her while Mr. Cullen also had spoken highly of her.
'People in these straitened times work hard in Ireland and make great effort to contribute to charities to which they have a great input. Ms Reville must be well aware of what she did which could have some impact on people contributing to charity,' said Judge Hickson.
He imposed a nine-month sentence on the first count, with two concurrent six-month sentences on the other two. The sentences were suspended for two years on condition of the defendant entering into a bond of €300 not to involve herself in any other charity or associated fundraising for at least ten years.