Sunday 15 September 2019

Personal assistant stole more than €1m from employers

Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

Fiona Ferguson

A personal assistant stole more than €1 million from her employers over a 14 year period by fraudulently lodging their cheques to her personal bank account, a court has heard.

Siobhan Maguire (47) “dissipated” the money over the years paying her mortgage, going on holidays and supporting her children.

Maguire, of The Brambles, Skerries, Dublin pleaded guilty to 32 sample theft and fraud charges related to lodgement of 660 cheques to her bank account on dates between 2001 and 2015.

She had been sent forward to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for sentencing on the offences after entering signed guilty pleas in the District Court. Maguire has no previous convictions.

The total theft involved amounted to €1,187,616. Maguire's former employers have been partially reimbursed by banks and did not wish to make victim impact statements.

The total outstanding loss is now approximately €325,000, Garda Stephen Faulkner told the court.

Judge Patricia Ryan adjourned sentencing until October 26 and remanded Maguire on bail.

Gda Faulkner told Maurice Coffey BL, prosecuting, that Maguire worked as a shared secretary and personal assistant to two professional people at offices in Church Street, Dublin and began employment there in May 2001.

He said part of her role, over the 14 years of her employment, was to lodge cheques into the business accounts of the two men. He said that during this time she also lodged 660 of these cheques, which she had falsely endorsed on the back, to her own personal account.

Gda Faulkner said the amounts on the fraudulently lodged cheques ranged from upper limits of €5,000 to a lower limit of several hundred euro. The money had been subsequently taken from her account in cash withdrawals and gardaí were unable to trace it.

He said that the fraud came to light in January 2015 after a bank employee became suspicious of a number of cheques Maguire lodged to her own account through the self service machines at Bank of Ireland in Smithfield.

Maguire's bank account was investigated and a vast amount of cheque lodgements uncovered. She was suspended from her job and subsequently resigned. A garda investigation began and she made full admissions to all the offences.

Gda Faulkner agreed with Conor Devally SC, defending, that Maguire had co-operated fully with the investigation and expressed genuine remorse. He agreed that the injured parties did not wish for Maguire to sell her family home to make up the shortfall in what they had lost.

Mr Devally said Maguire, who was separated from the father of her children, had been paying the mortgage on their jointly owned home by herself and supporting her two children.

He said instead of confronting her former partner about his obligations she took this “stop gap measure” and it became part of her life.

Counsel said the first withdrawal had occurred on Christmas Eve 2001 and Maguire had convinced herself at that time that it was something she could make up for.

Mr Devalley said that discovery of the offences had come as a horrible shock but there was also relief that her double life had been brought to an end. He said she was dogged by mortification and shame at the offences. He handed in a number of testimonials and letters from Maguire's family.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News