Sunday 20 October 2019

Woman jailed for two years over €325k theft at credit union

Breach of trust: Leona Daly pleaded guilty to 167 charges. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Cork Courts
Breach of trust: Leona Daly pleaded guilty to 167 charges. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Cork Courts

Ralph Riegel

A woman who stole more than €300,000 from an Irish credit union was jailed for two years.

Leona Daly (36) was handed a five-year prison term with the final three years suspended as a Cork Circuit Criminal Court judge warned that her actions represented a very serious "breach of trust" for the credit union involved.

Daly, of Meadow Avenue, The Meadows, Knocknaheeny, Co Cork, appeared before Cork District Court in relation to a total of 167 charges of theft and false accounting.

The charges all relate to Gurranabraher Credit Union in Cork and involved a period dating from 2011 to 2016 with a total amount of €325,000.

Judge Seán O Donnabháin was told that Daly had admitted all the charges at a very early stage. She had been sent forward from Cork District Court last July on a signed plea in relation to each charge.

The counts involved charges of both theft and false accounting. Daly is no longer an employee of the credit union, where she had worked since 2005 as an administrator.

Judge O Donnabháin was told that the defendant had been suffering from chronic depression at the time of the offences.

She deeply regrets her actions and, with her supportive family, has been attempting to address the amounts involved.

The court was told her husband David was willing to sell a car and hand the proceeds to the credit union. He was also trying to arrange monthly compensation payments.

Mr Daly had absolutely no knowledge of his wife's actions - and Judge O Donnabháin noted that the entirely innocent man had been "put through the wringer" over the defendant's behaviour.

However, Judge O Donnabháin warned that a custodial sentence was warranted given "the phenomenal breach of trust" involved. He also said the compensation and repayment offer proposed was "completely unrealistic".

To date, €10,000 in compensation had been raised by the defendant. Judge O Donnabháin noted a statement from Gurranabraher Credit Union about the theft and its impact. The credit union acknowledged it had suffered serious reputational damage because of the actions of its former employee.

Irish Independent

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