Former worker gets probation for property tax helpline fraud

Thursday 16 January 2014 00.00
Abtran runs the Revenue's Local Property Tax helpline
Abtran runs the Revenue's Local Property Tax helpline

A former Abtran employee operating Revenue's Local Property Tax helpline has been remanded on a probation bond for inducing customers to give him their credit card details.

Judge Leo Malone told Jonathan Gough that he would have to do what the Probation Service tells him to do for 12 months.

Judge Malone warned the case could be re-entered if he does not do so and he could be sent to prison for up to two years.

Gough, 22, of Glyntown, Glanmire, Co Cork had been working with Abtran for only a short time when the company discovered he had asked up to 11 people to provide their banking details under the pretext that they were making a payment for their local property tax.

Gardaí were alerted and, following an investigation, he was charged with four counts of dishonesty by deception.

Cork District Court was told there was no financial loss because the transactions were declined.

Mr Gough pleaded guilty to four fraud offences at Abtran in University Technology Park, Curraheen, Cork in May 2013.

He admitted fraud offences whereby he obtained bank and credit card details from people inquiring about filing their property tax returns.

The court was told that between 1 May and 9 May, Gough dealt with approximately 750 phone queries from the public and, in some cases, asked people for their bank and credit card details.

Gough was not entitled to do this, nor was he entitled to use some of the credit card details to attempt online purchases.

A solicitor for Gough told Judge Malone that his client accepted what he did was wrong and that he had no prospect of gaining employment in the future.

Judge Malone remanded Gough on a 12-month probation bond and on his own bond of €500.

In a statement issued at the time the fraud was initially uncovered, the company said the "individual was not a member of a payments-authorised department within Abtran.

"The individual had no authority to request any such details of customers and should not have done so.

"Those actions, and the customers potentially impacted, have been identified."