herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

Ex-Anglo clerk stole 'war-chest' of €200k from job

A FORMER Anglo Irish Bank employee will be sentenced next week for a €200,000 computer fraud at a Limerick branch of the bank three years ago.

Gordon O'Brien (43) committed the fraud as Anglo was calling in its loan accounts during the nationalisation of the bank.

It was later noticed during an audit by Anglo's successor, Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC).

O'Brien had set the money aside "as a war chest" because he was going to lose his job in the wind-up of the bank. His counsel described him as "a decent man who made a catastrophic mistake".

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard yesterday that his wife was also going to lose her job with another bank and his son had just been diagnosed with autism and faced having his education grant cut.

The former clerk committed the fraud by transferring clients' money into several bank accounts that he controlled. He would then take money from internal Anglo accounts and put it into the clients' accounts to make them seem in order.

O'Brien, of Springfield, Dooradoyle, Co Limerick, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to six counts of dishonestly using a computer with the intention of making gain or causing loss at Anglo Irish Bank, Henry Street, Limerick.

The offences occurred over a 10-month period between September 2010 and June 2011.

O'Brien made full admissions when confronted by bank officials and all the money was returned soon after.

He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Judge Patricia Ryan remanded him on continuing bail until July 25.

Detective Garda Stephen Niland of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation told prosecuting counsel Paul Carroll BL that there was a lengthy delay in IBRC making a complaint to gardai because of what was going on in the bank at the time.

O'Brien's fraud revolved around Anglo's operations in Limerick, which involved loaning money to clients for the leasing of equipment.

In 2009 Anglo was being taken over by the State and was in the process of calling in these loans. Customers were settling their accounts using cheques and cash lodgements.

O'Brien used a computer to transfer money from these accounts into seven accounts he controlled in various financial institutions. Two of these accounts belonged to his sister and cousin. O'Brien told them he needed to use their accounts for share dealing.

admitted

Gardai estimated that around 30 client accounts were 
affected.

The fraud was noticed by IBRC auditors and O'Brien admitted everything during a meeting with senior management in August 2011. He also told staff he had hidden nearly €30,000 in stolen cash in a safe deposit box in the bank.

The money was repaid within several weeks.

Defence counsel Dean Kelly BL said O'Brien and his wife were going to lose their jobs because of the banking crisis and wanted to put money aside for this eventuality.

"He sought to amass a war chest, wrongly, but for the right reasons," counsel said.

hnews@herald.ie

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