Man who took stolen cash from Dublin ATM given chance to compensate

Ruslan Cornea
Ruslan Cornea

A Moldavian plasterer who withdrew stolen money from an ATM on the instructions of a man he met in a casino has been given a chance to gather compensation.

Ruslan Cornea (38) said the unknown man gave him the card and told him he would get €150 for making the withdrawal. He later told gardai that in hindsight this did appear strange.

Cornea of Manor Street, Stoneybatter, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to theft of €1,500 from AIB at Permanent TSB, Grafton Street on January 3, 2015.

Garda Philip Byrne told Anne Marie Lawlor BL, prosecuting, that a genuine cheque in the name of an AIB customer had found it's way into the hands of a third party who modified the cheque to take €6,850 from the customers account and lodged it to a bank account.

It was not alleged that Cornea had any part in lodging or modifying the cheque.

After AIB became aware that a fraud had taken place the customer was reimbursed and a garda investigation began. It was discovered that withdrawals had been made from the account and Cornea was identified on CCTV as the person making a withdrawal of €1,500 on one occasion.

Cornea was arrested and denied altering or lodging the cheque. He accepted he was shown on CCTV making the withdrawal and told gardai he had met an unknown third party in a casino who gave him the ATM card and said he would get €150 for withdrawing €1,500.

Cornea has 11 previous convictions including possession of a fraudulent cheque, possession of 3,000 unstamped cigarettes, theft, and possession of a fake Romanian identification document.

Luigi Rea BL, defending, said Cornea had come to Ireland in 2008 but found himself unemployed as the building trade declined. He stayed hoping things would pick up but fell into a habit of gambling.

Mr Rea said Cornea was now back working as a plasterer and wished to gather compensation for the injured party.

Judge Melanie Greally adjourned the finalisation of the case until March 15.

Fiona Ferguson