A DUBLIN man who embezzled almost €20,000 from Weirs Jewellers where he worked as a manager has been given a three year suspended sentence.
Paul Flood (36) of Cardy Rock Crescent, Balbriggan pleaded guilty to nine sample counts of stealing a total of €19,332 from the Grafton Street shop on dates between April 2010 and September 2012. He has no previous convictions.
Flood met with gardaí by appointment in May 2013 after Weirs alerted them to the embezzlement.
He made full admissions outlining the method he had used to take the cash.
Flood said he had undiagnosed bi-polar and his illness was taking him over. He said he would hear voices, see shadows and take the money.
At Dublin Circuit Criminal Court Judge Martin Nolan accepted evidence from psychological reports that Flood had been diagnosed as being bi-polar and having acute depression and that this inspired his criminal behaviour.
He said that despite this Flood knew what he was doing was wrong and added "luckily for him it (the theft) was detected by his supervisor".
"This court is normally pretty hard on white collar crime," Judge Nolan said but added that because of Flood's lack of previous convictions and due to his psychological condition, "it would be unfair to impose a custodial sentence".
Garda Jonathan Petrie agreed with Keith Spencer BL, defending, that a senior employee, who had worked with Weirs for 38 years, gave Flood the money to fully reimburse the company.
That man was also in court to support Flood who has agreed to pay this man back the money in instalments.
Gda Petrie agreed with Mr Spencer that Flood had both acute depression and bi-polar at the time and was not correctly medicated.
He accepted a suggestion that his actions were "a cry for help" and that his former colleagues bear him no ill-will.
The garda confirmed that Flood did not take the money for "any particular purpose" and counsel told Judge Nolan that his client "just frittered it away".
Gda Petrie told Tony McGillicuddy BL, prosecuting, that Flood had been working with Weirs since August 2000 and was in a trusted management position.
He had helped install the "points of sale" in the shop and had password access to the gift card system.
He stole money by manipulating this gift card system and the cash point system to ensure that though he was taking cash from the till, the books effectively balanced.
Gda Petrie said customers would request gift cards and money would be loaded onto them. People would then buy items with the cards and if there was balance remaining it could be redeemed at a later point.
Flood became aware that certain balances had not been redeemed and he allowed for "a false redemption" so he could take the cash out of the till, while making it appear that the balance had been legitimately claimed by a customer.
He also loaded money onto gift cards and took the relevant cash amount out of the till.
In August 2012 his supervisor, David McCormack, noticed the discrepancies and checked back on CCTV footage. He found that Flood was the only person operating the register at particular times and confronted him about it the following month.
Flood initially denied any theft but then put his head in his hands and admitted that he had taken €500. He claimed it had been the first time.
He was suspended without pay immediately and Weirs arranged a further meeting where evidence of further thefts was put to him.
Flood said they were the only occasions he had stolen from them and handed over €3,000 to compensate the total they then accused him of embezzling.
Gda Petrie confirmed that through further enquires Mr McCormack became aware of the full extent of Flood's crime and the gardaí were contacted.