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Office manager stole €20k to pay for luxury lifestyle

Holidays to Dubai and Sri Lanka in huge fraud

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The Criminal Courts of Justice on Parkgate Street, Dublin (Stock photo)

The Criminal Courts of Justice on Parkgate Street, Dublin (Stock photo)

The Criminal Courts of Justice on Parkgate Street, Dublin (Stock photo)

A woman stole more than €20,000 from her employer's social club and the company credit card and then spent the money on luxury holidays and shopping trips.

Nicola Henry (32) was the secretary of the Johnson & Johnson social club when she wrote 37 cheques to herself, forging colleagues' signatures.

She got €17,326 from 27 of the cheques and spent the money on luxury holidays to Australia, Sri Lanka and Dubai, restaurants, shopping trips and beauty treatments.

The remaining 10 cheques bounced as there was not enough money in the account, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard yesterday.

Henry, an office manager with the Tallaght-based company, was suspended when the thefts came to light.

But she then went on to spend a further €3,233 using the company credit card, Detective Garda Kevin Bowen told the court.

After she was charged, Henry "buried her head in the sand" and missed several court appearances, leading to warrants being issued for her arrest, said Kieran Kelly, defending. She was arrested last month and then placed in custody.

Henry, of Carrownegh, Kiltoom, Co Roscommon, admitted theft and attempted theft from the Johnson & Johnson social club and the firm.

She also pleaded guilty to two counts of making a false instrument.

A further 65 offences were taken into consideration.

Det Gda Bowen told the court Henry joined the company in 2011 as an accounts assistant and went on to have different roles within the company, including office manager.

She joined the company social club in 2012 and became its secretary.

The court heard employees who were members of the social club paid a contribution from their salaries every month for social gatherings, with the company also regularly adding funds.

Although Henry was on the club committee and had a cheque book, she did not have authorisation to sign cheques on behalf of the club.

As a result, she forged the signatures of two of her colleagues who were authorised to do this and cashed cheques which she made out to herself.

Suspended

Ten of the 37 cheques - with a value of €35,340 - bounced as there wasn't enough money in the account.

Her offending came to light when the bank contacted the company controller about the bounced cheques in August 2015.

She was immediately suspended and her company credit card was blocked. But the firm later spotted that further sums of money had been spent using the blocked card.

It emerged the bank had contacted Henry about the card being blocked and she authorised them to unblock it before continuing to spend company money, the court heard.

Det Gda Bowen said Henry did not spend any money on day-to-day expenses.

"It was all luxury items," he said.

´Mr Kelly said his client had a normal upbringing, a good education and came from a good family.

The court heard her mother became ill with cancer when she was a teenager and Henry took on a caring role in the home.

Mr Kelly said his client was extremely remorseful.

Judge Pauline Codd remanded Henry in custody for sentence next March.


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