Mum stole €25,000 moved into her account by mistake
A WOMAN has pleaded guilty to the theft of €25,000 which was transferred into her building society account by mistake.
Therese Murray (50) of Clybaun Road in Galway was charged with stealing €25,000 which was the property of Vivienne McCourt at Irish Nationwide Building Society, Nationwide House, Grand Parade, Dublin.
At Galway Circuit Court yesterday, evidence was heard that the money was deposited into her account by mistake but Ms Murray had failed to report the error or respond to the building society when it later wrote to her highlighting the issue.
Detective Garda Siobhan Moore gave evidence that Ms McCourt had been transferring money from her Bank of Ireland account to her Irish Nationwide account using online banking but had mistakenly entered the wrong account digit, resulting in the funds being lodged into Ms Murray's account instead.
On May 27, 2008, Ms McCourt accidentally transferred €20,000 into Ms Murray's account. She transferred a second sum of €5,000 into the same account on September 2, 2008.
The matter did not come to light until December 2010 when Ms McCourt went to close her building society account.
It was discovered that the money had accidentally been placed in Ms Murray's account. However, the mother of four had transferred all funds out of that account on May 21, 2009.
Letters were sent from the building society to Ms Murray in May 2011 informing her of the error, but the defendant did not respond to them. She was later arrested in April 2012.
The court heard that she was fully co-operative and has since repaid all the funds to Ms McCourt.
Ms Murray was a widow and mother of four who lived with her mother. She has no previous convictions, worked part-time and also volunteered with the charity Enable Ireland.
Counsel for Ms Murray said she had not initiated the crime but was sorry for what had happened.
Judge Raymond Groarke said he had "every sympathy" for Ms Murray who was struggling with her economic situation and suddenly found herself benefiting to the tune of €25,000.
"I can only imagine the dilemma this law-abiding and very decent lady was left with in this circumstance. I just wonder what percentage of the population would deal with the situation any differently," he added.
He fined the defendant €500 and gave her five months to pay.