Monday 18 December 2017

Mother stole €100k after psychic said son was in trouble

Sonya McLean

A MOTHER stole more than €100,000 from the SuperValu where she worked as a manager after her son got into a "bit of trouble".

Celine Brennan (43) told gardai her son had got into trouble – which she noticed after a psychic had advised her to "keep a close eye" on him.

She claimed she had been approached by a man on her way to work who demanded that she hand over a certain amount of money because of her son's trouble.

She stole the cash from her employer and gave that to the man, along with some of her own money.

Brennan, of Coney Hall, Mornington, Co Meath, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two charges of stealing from SuperValu, Donabate, on dates between November 1 and December 31, 2010.

She had reimbursed SuperValu €23,000 before she was arrested in April 2011 and had a further €7,070 which she had saved over 101 weeks from her social welfare payments.

Her defence counsel, Cathal McGreal BL, said Brennan, her parents and siblings were willing to come together to pay €800 per month until SuperValu was fully compensated for the thefts.

Brennan hasn't worked since her arrest and her home is about to be repossessed.

SAFES

Garda Adrian Gates said Brennan had responsibility for payroll and the cash office. There were two floats in the office. One was for the ATM and the other was a working float, from which the takings from the tills would be lodged by Brennan in the business's bank account.

An audit was carried out on the shop in March 2011 but Brennan had time-locked the safes.

She said she had to go home early from work that day because her brother had been taken into hospital and didn't unlock the safes before she left.

She was told to return to work the following day to allow for the audit to be completed but although she came in early, she left again, claiming to be sick. Attempts were made to contact her by text but she didn't reply.

The audit was finally carried out a couple of days later and it was immediately noticed that €106,638 was missing from the two safes. The gardai were later alerted and Brennan was arrested in August 2011.

Brennan agreed that she had taken the money but said she didn't know exactly how much she had stolen or when she had taken it.

She now has a job offer, which she hopes will give her an opportunity to pay back the money, the court heard.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring said Brennan's theft represented "a significant breach of trust" in times when businesses large and small are struggling to keep premises open and people in jobs.

She remanded Brennan on bail for sentencing next March.

Irish Independent

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