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Saturday 24 August 2019

'It's nothing but trouble' - man who spent €58k paid to him by mistake

Keith O’Connor said he ‘did not go out to defraud anyone’
Keith O’Connor said he ‘did not go out to defraud anyone’

A man who spent €58,000 that had been mistakenly lodged in his bank account by a stockbroking firm has been given more time to raise compensation.

Keith O'Connor (51) appeared before Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday on a single charge of theft.

Judge Sean O'Donnabhain adjourned sentencing until November 14 after being told O'Connor was continuing to raise compensation for the firm involved.

A further €1,000 was lodged in court - with total compensation of almost half the initial amount involved now successfully raised.

Consequences

At a court hearing earlier this year, Judge O'Donnabhain warned O'Connor, of Kilnap Green, Farranree, Cork, that his contributions from the witness box had simply amounted to "digging a bigger hole" for himself.

The judge advised him not to interject when his barrister Niamh Stewart was explaining how his efforts at raising compensation had gone.

"I'll say no more, your honour," O'Connor said.

Judge O'Donnabhain said that was the wisest course of action.

"For once, I am in full agreement with you," he added.

The judge had previously warned the defendant about the consequences of not making an adequate effort to raise compensation.

"Pay as much compensation as you can or you will go to prison," he said.

O'Connor acknowledged that he had spent the €58,000 that had been mistakenly lodged in his account.

The defendant, who first appeared before the court last year, was adamant he had not set out to defraud.

"I have had nothing but trouble since that money landed in my account," O'Connor told the court.

"I did not need that money - I did not ask for that money. I did not go out to defraud anyone."

More than €21,000 in compensation has now been paid by the defendant in various lodgments to court.

This has been handed over in a series of phased payments.

The court previously heard an outline of the background to the case.

Det Gda Malcolm Walsh said that on March 29, 2016, €58,000 was mistakenly lodged in the bank account of the defendant by the stockbroking firm involved.

O'Connor had previously bought shares through the firm, but at that time there was no money in his account.

In a transfer error, funds which should have been paid to the account of another client of the firm was instead transferred into O'Connor's.

When the mistake was discovered, the firm made contact with O'Connor in a bid to resolve the matter.

However, Judge O'Donnabhain was told the defendant did not engage with the firm.

Similarly, he did not agree to any scheme to remedy the error and repay the money involved.

Funeral

He acknowledged receipt of the funds into his account.

O'Connor almost immediately withdrew the entire sum from his bank account. It was then spent.

The court was previously told O'Connor had used nearly half the sum to pay for costs incurred by a family funeral.

O'Connor had pleaded guilty to a single theft charge.

The charge was that, on March 2, 2016, he dishonestly appropriated €58,000 at AIB Bank's Blackpool Retail Park outlet in Cork.

A further update on the compensation raised by the defendant will be offered to the court in November.

Ms Stewart confirmed to Judge O'Donnabhain that the latest compensation amount raised by O'Connor had been lodged in court.

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