Monday 19 February 2018

Woman who agreed to cash stolen cheques totalling over €21,500 was 'pawn in operation'

Sonya McLean

A Dublin mother who agreed to cash stolen cheques has received a 12-month suspended sentence and must complete 150 hours of community service within two years.

Gardaí accepted that Shineen Mulhall (31) was “a pawn” in the operation during which two cheques, totalling over €21,500, were lodged into her account. She later withdrew the cash over a number of days under instructions from a man named in court as “Kai”.

Mulhall of Forest Park, Kingswood, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to stealing €16,885 from Oaklee Housing Trust on February 4, 2013 and stealing €5,564 from the Irish College of General Practitioners on March 3, 2013. She has 19 previous convictions for road traffic offences.

Judge Catherine Murphy noted that Mulhall had not come to adverse garda attention and had co-operated fully.

Garda Mark Bennett told Fionnuala O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, that the cheque for €5,564 had originally been made out for €500 and written in favour of a doctor. It was later altered and lodged into Mulhall’s account.

Gardaí arrested Mulhall after they viewed CCTV footage showing her lodging the cheque and confirmed her identity from documentation used to open the account.

During her garda interview in October 2013 she admitted that she had also lodged a cheque for €16,885 into her account after she had been given the cheque by “Kai”.

Oaklee Housing Trust later confirmed that a cheque they made out for payment had never been received by the intended recipient although it had been cashed.

Gda Bennett confirmed that although gardaí accept that Mulhall was cashing the cheques on behalf of another man, no one else had been charged.

He agreed with Keith Spencer BL, defending, that Mulhall had been using cannabis at the time and was preyed upon when she admitted to someone else that she had financial difficulties.

Mulhall initially agreed to accept a phone being delivered to her home and was paid €80 for this role. She then agreed to cash these cheques and said she was paid €1,100 when she lodged the bigger cheque.

Mr Spencer said his client was also getting cannabis “on tick” at the time and had built up a €240 debt.

Gda Bennett agreed with counsel that there were “veiled threats” issued by this other man against his client and he had indicated to her that he knew where her children went to school.

Mulhall managed to get away from the man on one trip to the bank and she had no further dealings with him.

Mr Spencer said his client’s partner and father of her three children died a number of years ago and she had never fully come to terms with his death.

She started smoking cannabis, spending €100 per week on the drug in an effort to deal with her grief.

Counsel said Mulhall regretted the situation she had got herself in and exposed her children to.

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