Employer

A receptionist who stole more than €34,000 from her employer avoids prison

A receptionist who stole more than €34,000 from her former employer has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Kerrie O’Byrne (46), of Monalea Grove, Firhouse, Dublin used the money to buy personal items including petrol, clothes, flowers and gifts for others, the court heard criminal of the Dublin circuit.

She pleaded guilty to more than 30 counts of theft at various locations between 2013 and 2019.

The court heard that O’Byrne worked as a receptionist for an engineering company and that, as part of her role, she used a company credit card.

Imposing a sentence on Thursday, Judge Martin Nolan said O’Byrne should be “ashamed” of his actions.

Judge Nolan said he had inferred that O’Byrne had worked for a large company and that his actions may not have had a material impact on his bottom line, but said “stealing from an employer is a serious business”.

An employer has the right to trust its employees, but O’Byrne broke that trust, Judge Nolan said. He handed down a two-and-a-half-year suspended prison sentence on strict conditions.

The court heard a fraudulent transaction of €2,500 was identified in June 2020, and O’Byrne’s employer told him the money was missing. O’Byrne admitted she had taken the money and quit, agreeing to repay the amount taken.

Investigation

A subsequent investigation by his former employer revealed that the accused had stolen a total of €34,250 over several years.

Detective Gavin Bowen told the court the company introduced a new expense process in the months before the thefts were discovered. It turned out that O’Byrne was not entering expenses correctly, although efforts were made to help him learn the new process.

O’Byrne, who has no previous convictions, admitted to the thefts and apologized after her arrest.

The investigating garda told the court that O’Byrne’s former employer had about 200 employees.

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The garda agreed with the defense lawyer that O’Byrne stole between €3,000 and €4,000 a year during the period in question, using the money to buy gifts for others due to a tendency to please people.

A psychological report was delivered to the court on O’Byrne’s behalf and her lawyer said she had taken steps to address the root cause of her offense and was leading a “reformed life”.

O’Byrne had two previous relationships that were abusive, the court was told, and she also had alcohol problems, but is now sober.

Judge Nolan noted that the mitigating factors were good in this case and O’Byrne was able to repay his former employer. He ordered that the money be refunded to the company within the following month.