Chronic gambler who stole €832,000 jailed for four-and-a-half years

Martin Reilly Reilly admitted gambling the money he stole
Martin Reilly Reilly admitted gambling the money he stole

A chronic gambler who stole over €832,000 from clients while he worked in Dublin as a Canada Life agent has been jailed for four and a half years.

Martin Reilly (59) convinced 18 of his clients, including a priest, to take money out of their existing Canada Life insurance policies and reinvest in other company products that didn't exist.

The grandfather-of-two instead put the money into an EBS account under his own name.

Reilly, with an address at West Side Estates, Togher, Cork, affirmed signed pleas of guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 80 counts of stealing money from clients between 2002 and 2011. He has no previous convictions.

Detective Garda Niamh Seberry told John Quirke BL, prosecuting, that Canada Life had reimbursed all the victims and was at a loss of €1.2 million between repayments and compensation.

Det Gda Seberry revealed that a client had contacted Canada Life in 2011 about a policy that had lapsed due to non-payment.

This client informed the company that the money had gone to Reilly, who had worked at Canada Life as a tied agent since 1997.

The company terminated Reilly's job and he confessed to having a gambling addiction at an arranged meeting with his former employer. Reilly admitted gambling the money he stole and produced a list of the clients involved.

He presented himself at Drogheda Garda Station and told gardai he had started out taking small amounts, but that over time the sums increased.

Det Gda Seberry revealed that Reilly told her “he wished he had been caught earlier as it had gotten out of hand and he lost everything to gambling.”

The detective accepted when Jonathan Kilfeather SC, defending, suggested that his client had gone to gardai before Canada Life had acted on the matter. She further accepted that Reilly hasn't come to garda attention since.

Mr Kilfeather submitted to Judge Martin Nolan that his client had lost his job, his social circle and had his pension frozen.

Counsel said Reilly was deeply remorseful, had since sought treatment with Gamblers Anonymous and gave talks in schools and groups about gambling.

Judge Nolan noted that “gambling is a pernicious activity and has brought down many a good man and woman.”

He accepted Reilly was  unlikely to come before the courts again, but said he had to sentence on the “pattern of misbehaviour over a prolonged period of time”.

By Aoife Nic Ardghail