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Mum who splashed €25k after bank's error avoids prison after


Single mum Margaret McDonnell went on a spending spree

Single mum Margaret McDonnell went on a spending spree

Single mum Margaret McDonnell went on a spending spree

A single mother who went on a "massive spending spree" after a bank accidentally deposited €51,000 into her account has received a suspended prison sentence.

Margaret McDonnell (23) spent the money on items for her two children including bedclothes, clothes and shoes, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

For two weeks McDonnell ate out every night, took her friends and family out for dinner and bought gifts, including two crystal vases and a "crystal mushroom lamp".

Referring to the money lodged in McDonnell's account, Judge Cormac Quinn said: "If it's too good to be true, it is because it is too good to be true."

Oisin Clarke, defending, said it was a case of the goose laying golden eggs and McDonnell spending the money before it stopped.

McDonnell, of Rathvilly Park, Finglas, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of theft of cash from Bank of Ireland between March 7 and 16, 2013.

Large ATM withdrawals and money spent in shops and restaurants meant a total of €24,946 was taken.


In January, Judge Quinn adjourned the case to give time for the Probation Service to assess McDonnell's suitability for community service.

He noted yesterday that the service had put her at a low risk of re-offending.

He suspended a sentence of 18 months on condition that she pay back €1,000 to the bank within 18 months. He also ordered her to carry out 150 hours of community service.

Det Gda Karl Smith told the court that in March 2013 a Bank of Ireland customer went into the branch in Finglas to get details to allow the transfer of €51,808 into his account from a foreign bank.

He was given an IBAN number, but when the money did not show up in his account he contacted the bank again. It was then discovered he had been incorrectly given the details of McDonnell's account.

The cash had dropped into her account on March 6 and the following day she withdrew €5,000.

On discovering its mistake, the bank took back the €26,862 remaining from the original deposit.

It also wrote to McDonnell asking her to repay the rest, but she ignored the letter.

After her arrest she accepted full responsibility for spending the money, saying: "As far as I was concerned, it was mine."