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Woman's €6k paternity test cheque fraud

A WOMAN who altered a cheque and withdrew more than €6,000 in cash desperately needed the money to pay for a paternity test, a court heard.

Teresa Clooney (27) claimed she was in "deep debt" at the time, was not receiving support from the father of her child and needed the money for a paternity test.

She claimed she was encouraged to deceive AIB by two other women who told her it was "easy-peasy".

Judge Patrick Clyne imposed a two-month sentence but suspended it for six months.

Clooney, of Oakfield Close, Clondalkin, admitted before Blanchardstown District Court to making gain or causing loss by deception.

The incident took place at AIB, Tower Road, Clondalkin, and Crumlin Road, Dublin 12, between last March 4 and March 7.

Sgt Maria Callaghan said Clooney altered a cheque by adding an extra digit to the amount, making a total of €6,166, and lodged it into her personal account.

Sgt Callaghan said Clooney then withdrew the money from her bank account over four days last March.

The officer said that once the cheque cleared, Clooney withdrew €5,000 over the counter in AIB and took €600 from the ATM machine on two other occasions.

reimbursed

The court heard the account holder had been reimbursed and it was the bank that was at a loss.

Sgt Callaghan said Clooney cooperated fully with gardai after the fraud was detected.

Defence solicitor Simon Fleming said Clooney was in debt at the time of the offence.

He said Clooney, a mother of one, suffered from depression after she had a stillborn child in 2011.

Mr Fleming said the defendant underwent a general anaesthetic in 2013 to remove a growth and this brought back the trauma of losing her child.

In relation to this incident, Mr Fleming said Clooney's son had been hospitalised with a burst appendix, she had just come off her medication and she was in a vulnerable place when she was approached by two women who told her it would be "easy-peasy" to get the money.

The solicitor said Clooney was used as "a pawn" by these two other women who told her there would be no repercussions.

Mr Fleming said Clooney needed the money to pay for a paternity test as she was not receiving support from the father of her child.

Judge Clyne said he accepted Clooney was under stress at the time but she did a "very stupid thing".

hnews@herald.ie


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