Thursday 23 January 2020

'Complex' case sees solicitor facing trial for theft and fraud of up to €1.2m

(stock photo)
(stock photo)
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

A solicitor is facing trial on theft and fraud charges in a case involving sums up to €1.2m.

Michael Small (52) is charged with multiple counts of theft, deception and accounting offences, alleged to have taken place over a two-year period.

Judge Colin Daly adjourned the case for the preparation of a book of evidence.

Mr Small, of Renville, Oranmore, Co Galway, is charged with five counts of theft, five counts of deception, five of failing to keep accounting records and another two of making or using false accounting documents, in Limerick and Dublin in 2008 and 2009.

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The case had been before Dublin District Court previously as Mr Small was charged eight weeks ago, and State solicitor Edward Flynn said he was seeking more time for the preparation of the book.

A number of reports were awaited which the DPP considered necessary for the completion of the book of evidence, he said. "It's a quite involved and complex matter," he said. "We do need that extra time."

The judge asked defence solicitor Cahir O'Higgins if there was consent to this.

He replied that the alleged offences date back to 2008 and Mr Small had been interviewed four years ago. He said he would "put it no further than that".

Mr Flynn accepted the case went back some time, but said "the allegations are serious and involve a considerable sum" of €1.2m. Judge Daly granted an extension of time for the preparation of the book of evidence and adjourned the case.

Mr Small has not yet entered pleas to the charges and was remanded on continuing bail, to appear again on January 29.

The theft charges allege Mr Small stole five separate sums totalling more than €890,000 from a woman at PTSB, St Stephen's Green, on dates between September 2, 2008, and March 30, 2009.

The five deception charges allege that, on the same dates at the same location, he dishonestly by deception induced the same named woman to issue loan funds.

Two more charges allege he made or used a false document for accounting purposes - that he furnished information for the reporting accountants' report to the Law Society, which to his knowledge was or could have been misleading, false or deceptive in a material particular.

This was with the intention of making a gain for himself or another or causing a loss to another, and the offences are alleged to have happened at Mulcahy Gorman Mulcahy Accountants, O'Connell Street, Limerick, on May 19, 2008 and June 26, 2009.

Those charges are under Sections 4, 6 and 10 of the Theft and Fraud Offences Act.

Five charges under the Solicitor's Act state that, on dates between August 14, 2008 and February 19, 2009, he failed without reasonable excuse to maintain and keep accounting records in Co Limerick.

Irish Independent

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