A woman who stole over €10,000 in rental deposits from eight prospective lodgers, has been given a fully suspended sentence.
Olga Leschen (50), of Ballentree Drive, Tyrrelstown, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to stealing the money over a six-week period between September and October 2015.
Judge Terence O'Sullivan sentenced Leschen to six months imprisonment but suspended it in full for a year provided she keep the peace and be of good behaviour.
Garda Tom McCarrick told Grainne O'Neill BL, prosecuting, that Leschen advertised her house for rent on Daft.ie and took deposits - ranging from €200 to €2,600 - from eight different parties.
Leschen emailed each of the eight parties informing them of impending surgeries or other health issues and pushed back the date they were to move into her house.
None of the parties were ever allowed to take up residence and no deposits were returned.
She was arrested on October 25, 2015, and initially denied the allegations.
Cathal McGreal BL, defending, said Leschen's husband had been physically abusive and had left her and their children without any money. She also has medical problems which prevent her from working.
Leschen has no previous convictions. The case had been adjourned for sentencing for a year so that she could pay back all of the money, which she has done by taking loans from her family and friends.
This money has since been returned to all but one of the injured parties. This person cannot be found and Judge O'Sullivan ordered that the €1,100 be held by Leschen's solicitor.
The judge said "there was no sophistication" to the theft, and added that while this was "clearly a nasty fraud", it was also "doomed to only last a certain time".
He said the mitigating factors in the case were her guilty plea, her co-operation with the investigation, her full repayment of the money she stole and her personal circumstances.