A former Anglo Irish Bank employee who stole over €600,000 from his friends and family has been jailed for five-and-a-half years.
Stephen Keogh (48) persuaded various friends and in-laws to invest money in high interest accounts, while actually lodging the money in his own account and providing false documents to hide his thefts.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Keogh had “essentially created a fiction that he was far more successful than he in fact was” and stole the money because he was “living way beyond his means”.
Keogh with an address at The Lawn, Athlumney Abbey, Navan, Co Meath, pleaded guilty to stealing a total of €611,139.35 from seven victims at various locations in Co Dublin and Co Meath on dates between May 15, 2002 and April 27, 2010.
Detective Garda John Trimble told Fionnuala O'Sullivan BL, prosecuting, that Keogh worked for Anglo Irish Bank between 2001 and 2005 and that he ultimately ended up working for Fiat in 2008.
Det Gda Trimble said that Keogh persuaded various people including his mother-in-law, his sister-in-law and an old family friend to invest very large amounts of money in high interest bank accounts with Anglo Irish Bank.
Keogh instead lodged the majority of this money into his own account. He also took money from his brother-in-law and the best man at his wedding to pay for cars that were never placed in their names.
He was also drawing money from his wife's credit card account without her knowledge. His family realised what had been going on in 2009 following an incident where his mother-in-law phoned to ask whether a cheque was missing from her chequebook and Keogh ran out of the house.
Keogh was asked to leave the family home in 2010 and went to the United States. He returned in 2011 and gave a voluntary interview to gardaí in which he accepted responsibility for the offences and said he had no money left.
“I created this monster,” said Keogh during the interview. “I don't know how it started and how it began. I wish it hadn't and I wish I knew better.”
Keogh left Ireland again following this interview. As part of his work with a company that provided services to U.S. Military bases, he spent time in Afghanistan and Iraq, countries from which it was not possible to extradite him.
He finally returned to the country in November 2019 and was arrested at the airport. He has no previous convictions.
Det Gda Trimble agreed with Niall Gallagher BL, defending, that his client has never sought to deny his offences. He agreed that Keogh told gardaí he did not intend to defraud people from the start and believed he could fix things before they got out of control.
Mr Gallagher said his client had “essentially created a fiction that he was far more successful than he in fact was” and that he was “living way beyond his means”. He said Keogh felt under pressure to maintain this image and had let his spending outstrip his income.
Judge Martin Nolan said that Keogh decided to subsidise his earnings by stealing from his friends. He said Keogh “left a lot of destruction in his wake“ to feed his lifestyle and to give an impression of wealth and success.
Judge Nolan said his moral culpability was high and he behaved in an entirely devious way. He said that the way in which Keogh met the case gave him no credit as he must have known that charges were in the offing and he left the scene.
He sentenced Keogh to five-and-a-half years imprisonment. After passing the sentence, Judge Nolan addressed Keogh directly to say that he has “made life miserable for a lot of people”.