Woman admits €16k theft from credit union account
A MOTHER who stole more than €16,000 from a children's credit union savings account has avoided a jail sentence on condition she repays the bulk of the money she took.
Amanda Schofield (51), a former employee of Estuary Credit Union, Glin, Co Limerick, admitted stealing €16,280 from the 'Sammy Stamps' children's account - a credit union scheme to encourage children to save with the credit union.
Schofield, of Dooncaha, Tarbert, Co Kerry, pleaded guilty to stealing the money from the Estuary Credit Union, which has branches in Glin and Tarbert, on dates between January 1, 2010, and June 1, 2012.
During a previous hearing, Det Garda Pat Lee said an internal investigation was initiated on May 28, 2012, after a manager at the Credit Union noticed the balance of the account seemed low.
The court heard the mother of one took advantage of a "loophole" in the Sammy Savings Stamps scheme to steal sums of between €80 and €120 a week starting in early 2010.
When confronted about the missing funds, Schofield admitted she had taken €16,280, despite the absence of any paper trail linking her to the crime.
Det Garda Lee agreed with defence counsel Mark Nicholas that Schofield only began stealing the money when her husband lost his job after he suffered a nervous breakdown in 2009.
At Limerick Circuit Court yesterday Schofield was given a two-year jail sentence, which was suspended for 10 years on condition she repays a balance of €12,000 to the insurers of the savings scheme.
To date she has paid back just over €1,700 of the stolen money.