Tuesday 22 October 2019

Ex-shop assistant stole over €10,000 worth of scratchcards as he was jealous of friends talking about pay rises, court told

Rafal Winter (37) took up to 30 books of scratch cards
Rafal Winter (37) took up to 30 books of scratch cards

Aoife Nic Ardghail

A former shop assistant manager admitted he stole over €10,000 worth of scratch cards because he had been jealous at his friends talking about pay rises, a court has heard.

Rafal Winter (37) later told gardaí he took up to 30 books of scratch cards, won between €2,000 and €3,000 in total and cashed the amounts at different shops.

Winter, a father-of-one of Swallowbrook Crescent, Clonee, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to stealing lottery scratch cards at Spar, The Crescent, Mulhuddart, Dublin, on dates between July 2 and September 24, 2017.

He has no previous convictions in Ireland or his native Poland.

Garda Rachel Trappe told Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting, that a retail management company contacted the Spar general manager about a discrepancy in scratch cards.

The manager reinstated a practice, which had been axed by a previous boss, of counting the scratch cards every night and approached Winter while making her inquiries. He admitted responsibility in a private conversation.

He said he had been at a BBQ with friends who had been talking about money and pay rises and he became jealous. He admitted taking up to 30 books of scratch cards over several weeks.

He offered to resign and pay back the money lost to the shop. Winter presented himself voluntarily to gardaí and explained he took between two and four scratch card books a week and scratched them all himself.

The court heard the Spar shop is still at a €10,567 loss as none of the money has been repaid.

Gda Trappe said Winter claimed he spent his winnings on “life expenses”. He said he had asked for a pay rise but had not received one.

Gda Trappe agreed with Jennifer Jackson BL, defending, that her client had shown remorse, made full admissions and pleaded guilty at the earliest date. She further agreed that Winter had no trappings of wealth and was not a man of significant means.

The garda said she was unaware Winter was sole earner for his family, when counsel put this to her.

Ms Jackson submitted to Judge Melanie Greally that her client was in line for another job, but was awaiting police vetting from Poland. She said this was the reason for the delay in raising compensation.

Counsel said if Winter was given some time, he would be able to raised funds for repayment.

Judge Greally took into account Winter's lack of previous convictions and adjourned the sentence to October to give him a “realistic prospect of getting some recompense”.

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