herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Cash-handler bride-to-be who stuffed €15,000 up her sleeves avoids prison

courts

A BRIDE-to-be has received a suspended sentence for stealing more than €15,000 of money set for destruction at the Central Bank because she worried about paying for her wedding.

CCTV showed former cash handler Bianca Maria Birtas (25) stuffing money up her sleeves as she counted notes into bundles, following an internal investigation at G4S services.

Birtas, of Monksfield Walk, Clondalkin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to stealing €9,520 from G4S Cash Services Ireland Ltd, Herberton Road, Rialto, last September 18.

The Romanian national also pleaded guilty to stealing €6,010 from the firm the following day.

She has no previous convictions.

Judge Martin Nolan suspended a sentence of two-and-a-half years after noting that she is unlikely to re-offend.

He said Birtas had "succumbed to temptation" as she knew the money was to be destroyed and that there would be no injured parties involved. He said he could treat it as a one-off offence.

Det Gda Jason Weir said G4S became aware of cash shortages going to the Central Bank and directed a cash processing manager to investigate.

The manager counted out the money bundles to check them against a ledger and discovered a total of €15,530 missing over the two days.

Det Gda Weir told Tom Neville, prosecuting, that Birtas said she was getting married and did not think she would have enough money saved from her €10 per hour job.

Gardai froze Birtas' current and savings accounts, where she had deposited €6,005 of the stolen money. They also found €7,840 in her home after she had directed them to its location.

Birtas, who has a masters degree in banking and finance from Romania, told gardai she had never done anything like this before and "didn't think" about the consequences.

Det Gda Weir said Birtas apologised during garda interview. He added that all of the stolen cash would be returned to the Central Bank.

resignation

He agreed with Aoife McMahon, defending, that Birtas' former employer had accepted her resignation instead of dismissing her.

The officer further agreed that it was "not uncommon for there to be cash discrepancies" in money going to the Central Bank.

Ms McMahon submitted to Judge Martin Nolan that her client "doesn't seek to shy away from the crime" and hoped her conviction wouldn't stand in her way of securing jobs in the future.

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