A GARDA has been fined €3,000 for carrying out a scam on ATMs in which he repeatedly pocketed cash after prompting the machines to refund his account.
Raymond Geelan (38) “tricked” the machines by requesting €170 withdrawals each time, but leaving €20 in the dispenser, triggering an automatic full refund.
He pocketed a total of €600 before his deception was discovered by the bank.
Fining him, Judge Michael Walsh said it had been a “carefully planned and executed fraud” and Geelan’s conduct flew in the face of the professional standards expected of a garda.
Dublin District Court also heard Geelan, who is based at a city station faced “probably inevitable” dismissal from the force and was the “big loser” in what he had done.
The accused, with an address in Ongar, west Dublin, admitted four counts of deception by inducing AIB to refund him €170 on each occasion, after he had retained €150 himself.
The offences happened at the bank’s ATMs at Blanchardstown Shopping Centre and Superquinn, Blanchardstown as well as Maynooth, Co Kildare on dates between April 5 and May 1, 2013.
He also pleaded guilty to one count of attempted deception at Blanchardstown Shopping Centre on April 8 last year.
A co-accused second garda has pleaded not guilty to three counts of deception and two of attempted deception, and his case is due to be heard in January.
Supt John Keane told the court Geelan had used his own ATM card and PIN, “manipulating” the cash by taking two €50 notes and leaving a €20 in the dispensing tray.
The machine was programmed to retract the money but at that point was unable to identify how much had been taken back inside.
It was flagged in the machine as an “extraordinary transaction” and the full amount was refunded to his account.
Geelan had been a member of the gardai for 14 years with an “unblemished record."
The accused had paid the money back when the loss was discovered by the bank, accepted responsibility and expressed remorse.
A letter from his doctor was presented to the court
Defence Solicitor Dara Robinson said Geelan was “the big loser” from a series of acts “of the most extreme folly.”
The accused had been suspended on basic pay but now expected to be dismissed as a result of disciplinary proceedings, and his alternative profession was carpentry.
The court heard Geelan was due to become a father for the first time in March.
“I can only conclude that the accused was engaged in a pre-meditated, pre-planned exercise with a view to making financial gain for himself and in so doing, defrauded the bank,” Judge Walsh said.
“His conduct flies in the face of the professional values and ethical standards which would have been expected of him, to always act in accordance with the oath of his office and always act in accordance with the law.”