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Monday 20 November 2017

Man must repay €70,000 stolen from employer

A Wicklow man who stole almost €70,000 from his employer to spend on prescription medication for his drug addicted ex-girlfriend has received a three-year suspended sentence.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Jonathan Hynes (31) has refunded Zurich Life Assurance plc €30,000 to date and that he used all the stolen money to pay for his ex-partner's serious drug habit and hospital bills.

Michael Bowman SC, defending, submitted that his client's theft to help his former partner during her serious addiction was a 'desperate act driven by emotion rather than greed.'

Judge Martin Nolan commented that Hynes's 'motivation in some sense could be seen as noble' and added: 'If there was a less noble motive for the theft then the result would have been different.'

He suspended the sentence for three years and ordered that Hynes repay the €40,000 still owed to the insurance company within that time.

Hynes, with an address at Sea Road, Arklow, pleaded guilty to stealing amounts between €1,000 and €7,000, property of Zurich Life Assurance plc, Zurich House, Frascati Road, Blackrock, on dates between January 29 and December 21, 2015. He has no previous convictions.

Detective Garda Colm Gregan told John Fitzgerald BL, prosecuting, that Hynes's role at the company had been to pay doctor services used in insurance claims. Hynes instead transferred the funds into his own bank.

Gardaí began their investigation when a discrepancy was noticed in the company accounts.

Det Gda Gregan agreed with Mr Bowman that Hynes had acted out of love and support for his partner, who had been seriously addicted to prescription medication.

The detective agreed that Hynes fell into depression and couldn't think how to pay his debts and support his partner, so he took money from his employer.

The detective further agreed that Hynes was now paying the company back on a monthly basis and had not 'profited a red cent' from the thefts.

Mr Bowman submitted to Judge Nolan that his client had always been a 'loquacious, outgoing person' but then he began withdrawing from his social environment and eating lunch in his car. He said Hynes was unable to ask for help and didn't seek to create difficulties at work.

Judge Nolan accepted that this was a crime of desperation and said it would be unjust to imprison Hynes.

He acknowledged that Hynes was highly unlikely to re-offend and ordered that he repay the company the balance of the stolen money within three years.

Wicklow People

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