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Mum-of-two stole €190k for readings on tarot hotlines

A DUBLIN mother of two who embezzled almost €190,000 from two employers including the National Concert Hall has been jailed for one year.

The court heard that although Mary O'Toole (44) had severe financial pressures at the time due to mounting debt, she spent the money on tarot reading hotlines and "nonsense" internet shopping.

O'Toole, of Elmfield Drive, Clarehall, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sample charges of theft from Forest Tosara Ltd on dates between April 30, 2008 and September 16, 2010.

She also admitted theft of a computer hard drive from the company on February 14, 2011. Judge Mary Ellen Ring said this was an effort by O'Toole to cover her tracks. O'Toole also pleaded guilty to sample charges of theft, totalling €49,820, from the National Concert Hall (NCH) on dates between December 13, 2011 and February 22, 2012.

O'Toole began offending after her marital separation. She was diagnosed with depression in 2004 and suffered stress-related alopecia.

Judge Ring said that O'Toole has now lost her good name and will find it impossible to find work in the payroll area in which she is skilled.

She imposed a sentence of three years imprisonment backdated to December 18, 2013 and suspended the last two years.

Det Garda Darren Burke told Michael Bowman BL, prosecuting, that O'Toole manipulated Forest Tosara's payroll system to lodge €139,848 into four of her bank accounts through 209 transactions. She was initially suspended without pay in February 2011 when a colleague became suspicious. The next day the relevant documentation went missing along with her computer.

CONTRACT

Det Garda Adrian Kelly of the Bureau of Fraud Investigation said the following December she secured an agency contract as an account clerk with the NCH having used a bogus CV.

O'Toole went on to steal from them by directing legitimate payments to creditors into her own bank accounts.

She has one previous conviction from the District Court for stealing more than €7,400 from a different employer in 2011. She has yet to be sentenced on this matter. Aileen Donnelly SC, defending, said O' Toole was diagnosed with depression when she was going through a particularly stressful period.

Counsel said that, although the trigger for the offence was financial difficulty, instead of using the cash to pay off the mortgage, "she engaged in a nonsense type of spending".

This included ringing tarot reading hotlines and buying items online that she was never going to use or wear.

She said O'Toole accepts there was a breach of trust involved and is extremely remorseful for her actions.

Counsel said that although O'Toole paid some cash towards some of the invoices for the NCH. She said that the amount outstanding to the NCH is now €24,684.

hnews@herald.ie


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