Suspended sentence for woman who stole over €10,000 in rental deposits
A woman who stole over €10,000 in rental deposits from eight prospective lodgers and then refused them access to her house has received a fully suspended sentence.
Olga Leschen (50), with an address at Ballentree Drive, Tyrrelstown, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to stealing the money over a six-week period between September and October 2015.
Judge Terence O’Sullivan sentenced Leschen to six months imprisonment but suspended the full sentence for 12 months provided she keep the peace and be of good behaviour.
Garda Tom McCarrick told Grainne O’Neill BL, prosecuting, that Leschen advertised renting her house on Daft.ie and took deposits from eight different parties. The amount of money paid to Leschen ranged from €200 to €2,600.
Leschen emailed each of the eight parties informing them of impending surgeries or other health issues and pushed back the date they were to move into her house. None of the parties were ever allowed to take up residence in her house and none of the deposits were returned.
She was arrested on October 25 2015. She initially denied the allegations, saying, “If I take something I always give it back.”
Cathal McGreal BL, defending, said that Leschen pleaded guilty to the charges at her first date in the Circuit Court. He said she expressed remorse and had written letters of apology to each of the injured parties.
Mr McGreal said Leschen’s husband had been physically abusive and that he left her and their children without any money. Leschen has medical problems which prevent her from working.
Leschen has no previous convictions. The case was adjourned for sentencing for a year so that she could pay back all of the money, which she has done by taking loans from her family and friends.
This money has been been returned to all but one of the injured parties. This person cannot be found and Judge O'Sullivan ordered that the €1,100 be held by Leschen's solicitor.
He ordered the money to be donated to Simon Community Homeless Charity if the injured party had not come forward within the next three years.
Judge O’Sullivan said “there was no sophistication” to the theft. He said that while this was “clearly a nasty fraud” it was also “doomed to only last a certain time”.
He said the mitigating factors in the case were her guilty plea, her co-operation with the investigation, her full repayment of the money she stole and her personal circumstances.