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Mum stole €80k from her bosses

AN accountant and mum-of-three who stole almost €80,000 from her employers over the course of three years has been sentenced to three years.

Alix Long (35) used company cheques to pay personal bills such as a speeding ticket and music lessons for her child.

The court heard the directors of the company, Snap Printing, had to use their own money to keep the company going after the theft was uncovered.

Judge Martin Nolan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court imposed a three-year term but suspended all but 16 months after taking into account her efforts to repay the money.

The judge rejected a defence application to allow Long to remain free to repay the remainder of the money.

"When she stole she knew what she was doing and did so over a prolonged period of time," Judge Nolan said.

The mother of three had previously promised to repay the stolen money with €58,000 she made from the sale of her home. However, her defence counsel said she was forced to spend this on day-to-day living.

Long, of The Crescent, Earls Court, Kill, Co Kildare, pleaded guilty to theft of €79,371.81 from Snap Printing at Baldonnell Industrial Estate between April 28, 2004 and January 1, 2007.

The court heard that Long began work as an accountant with the company in 2004. In April she began making unauthorised payments into her personal account, which amounted to nearly €60,000 when she left the job in 2007.



Mistakes

On a previous date, the court heard that during the same period she also started making out a large number of company cheques to herself or her creditors, including the Motor Tax Office, Bord Gais and two payments to a BMW dealership. Nearly €20,000 was stolen in this way.

The thefts came to light after Long had left the company and was replaced by another accountant who noticed "a litany of mistakes" in the accounts.

Long said she intended to pay back the money when she sold her family home after the breakdown of her marriage.

Defence counsel John Byrne said she had managed to repay €26,000 of the stolen money.

hnews@herald.ie


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