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Garda pocketed €600 by 'tricking' ATM machines

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Raymond Geelan

Raymond Geelan

Raymond Geelan

A GARDA has admitted carrying out a scam on ATMs in which he pocketed €600 over a five-week period after prompting the machines to refund his account.

Raymond Geelan (38) repeatedly "tricked" the machines by requesting €170 withdrawals but leaving €20 in the dispenser, triggering an automatic full refund to his account.

He succeeded four times, with one failed attempt before his deception was discovered by the bank, Dublin District Court heard.

Judge Michael Walsh adjourned the case to next month to decide on a penalty. Geelan, who is based at a Dublin station, faces garda disciplinary action on conclusion of the criminal proceedings.

The accused, with an address in Ongar, west Dublin, admitted four counts of deception by inducing AIB to refund him €170 on each occasion, after he had retained €150 himself.

The offences happened at the bank's ATMs at Blanchards-town Shopping Centre and Superquinn, Blanchardstown as well as Maynooth, Co Kildare on dates between April 5 and May 1, 2013.

He also pleaded guilty to one count of attempted deception at Blanchardstown Shopping Centre on April 8 last year.

A co-accused second garda, Brendan Phillips (34), of Clonsilla, west Dublin, is charged with three counts of deception and two of attempted deception, taking a total of €450.

He pleaded not guilty to all charges and his case was adjourned for hearing in January.

manipulating

Det Supt John Keane said Geelan had used his own ATM card and PIN, "manipulating" the cash by taking two €50 notes and leaving a €20 in the dispensing tray.

The machine was programmed to retract the money, but at that point was unable to identify how much had been taken back inside.

It was flagged in the machine as an "extraordinary transaction" and the full amount was refunded to his account. Geelan had been a member of the gardai for 14 years with an "unblemished record" and had now been suspended on three-quarters pay pending the outcome of the case.

"It was a trick, essentially, that one could learn and in this case carry out by retaining the €20 note and triggering an automatic refund," defence solicitor Matthew Kenny said.

The accused paid the money back when the loss was discovered by the bank. Geelan had accepted responsibility for the offences.

Letters from a doctor and counsellor were handed in to court that disclosed sensitive "matters of a personal nature" but were not read out.

The court heard Geelan is due to become a father for the first time in March.

hnews@herald.ie


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