Accountant who stole almost €500k from Dublin building firm jailed

CourtsBy Sunday World
David Gorey
David Gorey

An accountant who stole almost €500,000 from a construction company to fund his gambling addiction, his social life and buy expensive cars has been jailed for two years.

David Gorey (33) of Kilbride, Trim, Co Meath, initially stole the money to pay off a €5,000 credit union loan and a €15,000 car loan before the vehicle was repossessed.

He continued to take cash from the company, bought three BMWs, worth €100,000 and used the rest to fund his addiction and his social activities.

Sinéad McMullan BL, prosecuting told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that Gorey stole €489,000 between August 2009 and July 2013 in 23 different transactions. He transferred payments intended for suppliers and subcontractors to one of his own three bank accounts by altering payment certificates.

He would get various company directors to sign off the certificates and later transfer the cash electronically.

Gorey was suspended with full pay while the case was being investigated but has since been let go. He is now working as a floor manager in a restaurant in Trim.

Gorey pleaded guilty to four sample charges of stealing various sums of cash from ABM Construction Ltd, Feltrim Business Park, Swords, Co Dublin on dates between August 8, 2009 and June 13, 2013. He has previous convictions for minor road traffic offences.

Judge Melanie Greally said that a victim impact report before the court showed that the “wider impact” Gorey's theft had on ABM construction itself and its employees was considerable.

She said the crime had “mirrored the most challenging times for the construction industry” and said Gorey had the trust of his employees at the time.

She said Gorey had “a fondness for the high life in terms of his social activity and successive purchases of expensive cars”.

The judge acknowledged that Gorey had no history of serious offending, had a supportive and positive family background, had co-operated with the garda investigation and a probation report concluded he was at a low risk of re-offending.

She said a custodial sentence was “unavoidable” having taken into account “the considerable breach of trust, the impact on the business and the considerable sum taken”.

Sean Gillane SC, defending told Judge Greally that Gorey's behaviour represented “a spectacular fall from grace, involving both speed and distance”.

Garda Niamh Carey said the director of ABM Construction, Pat O'Neill, contacted Swords Garda Station in February 13, 2014 to report the theft.

He and his financial controller had previously met with Gorey to discuss discrepancies they noticed in the accounts. They had spoken to suppliers and sub-contractors and confirmed they had not received intended payments.

Gorey initially said he didn't recognise the account number the missing funds had been transferred to but within minutes went on to make full admissions.

Gorey later provided them with his bank statements and calculated that he had stolen over €400,000. The day of the meeting he transferred his car, worth €60,000 to the company, which was later sold on. No further cash has been recovered.

Gda Carey agreed with Mr Gillane that Gorey was first employed as an accountant assistant in 2007 and had been very well regarded by both the staff and management.

She further agreed that the meeting with Mr O'Neill and the ABM's financial controller had been a lengthy and emotional one with Gorey “having trouble keeping a grip on his own sense of calm”.

Gda Carey accepted that Mr O'Neill had been very considerate towards Gorey and had shown concern for him, arranging for his sister to pick him up.

She said there was nothing in Gorey's history with the company to indicate that this was the course he was going to take.

Mr Gillane told Judge Greally that his employer had been equally helpful to his client in 2010 when he was going through “an identity crisis”.

By Sonya McLean