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Monday 15 October 2018

Personal assistant who stole €1.1m in 14-year fraud jailed for 4 years

Siobhan Maguire paid 660 cheques meant for her employers into her own bank account
Siobhan Maguire paid 660 cheques meant for her employers into her own bank account

A personal assistant who stole more than €1m from her employers and used the money to go on holidays and pay her mortgage has been jailed for four years.

Siobhan Maguire (47) stole the money by fraudulently lodging her employers' cheques to her personal bank account over a 14-year period.

Her lawyers told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that she "dissipated" the money over the years paying her mortgage, going on holidays and supporting her children.

Maguire, of The Brambles, Skerries, Dublin, pleaded guilty to 32 sample theft and fraud charges related to lodgement of 660 cheques to her bank account between 2001 and 2015.

Loss

She had been sent forward to the Circuit Criminal Court for sentencing after pleading guilty in the district court. The total theft amounted to €1,187,616.

Maguire's former employers have been partially reimbursed by banks and did not wish to make victim impact statements. The total outstanding loss is now approximately €325,000.

Judge Patricia Ryan noted testimonials and letters handed in from family and friends. She said she was taking into account the letters from Maguire's young children, who were not financially independent.

She noted the prosecuting garda was of the view Maguire would not reoffend.

Judge Ryan noted in mitigation that Maguire had entered an early guilty plea, that she had made full admissions, had no previous convictions and had displayed genuine remorse.

Judge Ryan imposed four years imprisonment on each count to run concurrently.

Garda Stephen Faulkner told Maurice Coffey, prosecuting, that Maguire worked as a shared secretary and personal assistant to two professional people at offices in Church Street, Dublin, from May 2001.

He said part of her role, over the 14 years of her employment, was to lodge cheques into the business accounts of the two men. He added that, during this time, she also lodged 660 of these cheques, which she had falsely endorsed on the back, to her own personal account.

Gda Faulkner said the amounts ranged from €5,000 down to several hundred euro.

The money had been subsequently taken from her account in cash withdrawals and gardai were unable to trace it.

He said that the fraud came to light in January 2015 after a bank employee became suspicious of the number of cheques Maguire lodged to her own account through the self service machines at Bank of Ireland in Smithfield.

She was suspended from her job and subsequently resigned.

Gda Faulkner agreed with Conor Devally, defending, that the injured parties did not wish for Maguire to sell her family home to make up the shortfall in what they had lost.

Mr Devally said Maguire, who was separated from the father of her children, had at the time been paying the mortgage on their jointly owned home by herself as well as supporting her two children.

Confronting

He said, instead of confronting her former partner about his obligations, she took this "stop-gap measure" and it became part of her life.

Mr Devally said that discovery of the offences had come as a horrible shock, but there was also relief that her double life had been brought to an end. He said she was dogged by mortification and shame at the offences.

After hearing evidence last week, Judge Ryan had adjourned the case to allow further details of Maguire's financial details to be brought before the court.

Oisin Clarke, defending, told Judge Ryan yesterday the family home had gone into arrears after Maguire was let go from her job, but that her ex-partner is now paying for the house. He said that Maguire was currently on social welfare.

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