News Courts

Thursday 27 June 2019

Dublin man jailed after he altered cheque and tried to lodge it with bank

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Jessica Magee

A Dublin man was prosecuted for fraud after he altered a cheque he took from the post and then tried to lodge it with a bank, a court has heard.

Judge Melanie Greally jailed Robert Ward (24) for three years after he pleaded guilty to using a cheque of €11,321 as a false instrument at AIB on Swords Rd, Santry, on June 13, 2014.

At his sentence hearing today, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Ward intercepted the cheque from a flooring company and altered it.

He was later caught trying to lodge the cheque after bank staff passed it under UV light and realised it had been falsified.

The father-of-two, with an address at Bessborough, North Strand, further admitted using a cheque of €5,221 as a false instrument at a branch of AIB on St Brigid's Rd, Artane on May 12, 2014.

The court heard that gardaí arrested a total of eight people related to the fraud offences, several of whom are before the courts.

Judge Greally sentenced Ward to four years and suspended the final 12 months, with credit given for seven months already spent in custody.

The court heard Ward had been a promising footballer in his youth and underwent several trials in the UK for football clubs, but that his lifestyle and alcohol abuse meant his career prospects never came to fruition.

Garda Dominic McGrath told prosecuting counsel that Ward walked into AIB Artane in May 2014 and successfully lodged a cheque for €5,221. He showed ID which had been verified by gardaí and left with the cash, which was never repaid.

The cheque was later found to be completely counterfeit.

A month later, Ward went to the AIB at Santry and sought to lodge a cheque for €11,391 in the name of a company called Provincial Floor Covering. He told the teller he had been given the cheque from his boss.

Bank staff passed the cheque under UV light and discovered it had been altered and was therefore counterfeit. The bank teller told Ward the cheque couldn't be lodged and the bank would have to retain it.

The counterfeit cheque was reported to gardaí, who discovered it had been sent by post but intercepted and altered by Ward.

In a separate bill, Ward pleaded guilty to stealing a safe containing €500 from the back of Teo's Takeaway, Bunratty Road, Coolock, on March 27, 2017.

Garda Eoin Kennedy told the court that the manager of the takeaway discovered that the lock of a dry goods store behind the premises had been broken and a safe had been stolen, containing €500.

CCTV was used to identify Ward as one of two culprits. He had been on bail at the time.

Ward has 106 previous convictions, of which 18 are for theft and three are for Circuit Court offences.

Counsel for Ward presented a letter to court from Ward, apologising and expressing his desire to turn away from a life of crime and be a productive member of society and a father to his children.

In her ruling, Judge Greally set a headline sentence of five and a half years for fraud but gave Ward credit for his guilty pleas and his issues with alcohol.

Other mitigating factors included his young age, his charitable work and a prison governor's report showing that Ward is now sober, on an enhanced regime and working as a prison cleaner.

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