Former bank employee to be sentenced for fraud

Thursday 17 July 2014 19.53
A man who worked at a Limerick branch of Anglo Irish Bank is to be sentenced next week for fraud
A man who worked at a Limerick branch of Anglo Irish Bank is to be sentenced next week for fraud

A former bank employee described as a "decent man who made a catastrophic mistake" will be sentenced next week for a €200,000 fraud on Anglo Irish Bank.

Dublin Circuit Criminal court heard that 42-year-old Gordon O’ Brien from Springfield, Dooradoyle, Co Limerick manipulated internal accounts to build up "a war chest" to fund special education for his autistic son.

The court was told despite receiving a grant for his son's education there was an annual shortfall of €19,000.

The bank's branch in Limerick was in the process of closing and settling customer accounts as it was being nationalised and he knew his job was at risk.

His wife, who worked in a different bank, was also in danger of losing her job.

As loans were repaid by customers he diverted money to his own accounts.

He then transferred money from internal suspense accounts to customer accounts to make it look like loans were repaid.

The court heard that customers were never at a loss and all the money was repaid almost immediately.

O'Brien was confronted in August 2011 after an internal audit revealed suspicious transactions.

It was discovered he had moved €200,000 in 30 separate transactions between September 2010 and June 2011 to accounts controlled by him.

He also stored €29,000 in cash in a safe deposit box at the bank.

He immediately admitted his guilt and all the money was repaid.

Most of the money was sitting in accounts and had not been spent.

The court heard he cooperated fully with bank's own investigation as well as the Garda investigation.

He apologised and was ashamed and told gardaí he had done it for his son who had autism and both parents were in danger of losing their jobs.

He also believed his son's grant was coming to an end.

The court heard he used his own bank accounts at Anglo and other banks, a credit union account and accounts in the name of his sister and a cousin.

He told them he needed to use their accounts for share dealings and they knew nothing about the fraud and were shocked when they learned of it.

Gardaí agreed that he was "a decent man who made a catastrophic mistake".

His lawyers said he was "hung by the simplicity of using his own ID number to make the transactions" but he would not have contemplated implicating anyone else by using another number.

Judge Patricia Ryan adjourned the case until 25 July to allow time to consider a number of reports and testimonials handed in on his behalf.

The maximum sentence for the offences is ten years imprisonment.