Bookkeeper who stole €14k from creche avoids jail term
A bookkeeper, who claimed she always intended to pay back €14,000 stolen from a creche, has avoided a prison sentence.
Elizabeth Ingram (61), of The Drumlins, Virginia, Co Cavan, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to stealing from Ballyfermot Resource Centre in Dublin on dates in 2011 and 2012.
Judge Melanie Greally yesterday ordered that she undertake 240 hours of community service in lieu of a one-year prison sentence.
She said that the theft was serious and was a significant breach of trust.
However, she also noted that the defendant was under financial pressure at the time.
"This appears to have been an 'out of character' episode in the life of an otherwise law-abiding and decent woman who reared four children as a single parent," she said.
The court heard Ingram had been in charge of book-keeping for the resource centre, which includes a creche, a restaurant and a sweet shop, for eight years prior to the incident.
Garda Lisa Duffy told Pieter Le Vert BL, prosecuting, that the thefts came to light when the centre received Government funding and was required to perform a yearly audit.
An auditor noticed discrepancies in the accounts and Ingram was called to a meeting with the chairperson of the board of management.
At the meeting on June 15, 2012, the defendant admitted to taking the money. She said that she had the money but did not know how to give it back.
The centre received a bank draft from Ingram to repay the full €14,000 and the matter was reported to gardai on July 3, 2012.