herald

Tuesday 30 May 2017

Director stole €908k from firm to use for booze and gambling

Conrad Mason
Conrad Mason

A former company director stole almost €1m from his employer to feed his alcoholism and gambling addiction.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was told Conrad Mason took €908,652 from David Dixon, of cleaning specialist C&G Logistics Group, between 2010 and 2015.

The 46-year-old yesterday admitted 25 sample counts of theft and fraud representing 234 wrongful transactions from the company account.

Detective Sergeant Margaret Morrell told the court that between August 2014 and July 2015 he transferred more than €250,000 from the company to two accounts in his name.

Mason, of Elm Mount Close, Beaumont, subsequently told Mr Dixon that he had been taking money from the company for five or six years and that he had been gambling, primarily on online slot machines.

Mr Dixon told gardai that since the fraud, C&G was "suffering on a day-to-day basis" and that his trust in people had been "totally undermined and diminished".

Michael Bowman, defending, said Mason's motivation was a "deep-seated addiction", not a "get-rich-quick scheme", and that he did not exhibit the trappings of an ostentatious lifestyle.

The court heard he had been seen as a trusted member of staff until 2013 when his work dropped below standard.

Chaos

As his performance continued to decline, it became evident that his alcohol issues were getting worse. A turning point came in 2015 when he returned from lunch drunk and had to be taken home.

When Mason agreed to undergo treatment at St Patrick's Hospital, Mr Dixon asked chartered accountant Tom O'Brien to cover for Mason.

Mr O'Brien said it was apparent that the company's finances were in chaos and that Mason had lost control and that the company was "tight for cash", something of which Mr Dixon was unaware.

Mr O'Brien identified an "unusual" payment made on July 14, 2015 for about €3,000 from the company account.

He later discovered that between August 2014 and July 2015, Mason had transferred more than €250,000 from C&G to two accounts in his name.

Mason was arrested on suspicion of theft and fraud in April last year. The court was told that Mason's wife had left him, his home had been sold and his share of €130,000 had been paid to the company solicitors in recompense.

"He is effectively a broken man," said Mr Bowman.

Mason will be sentenced on May 23.

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