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Court hears Dublin woman holding €117k cash 'acting as bookkeeper for serious criminals'

CourtsBy Sunday World
Court hears Dublin woman holding €117k cash 'acting as bookkeeper for serious criminals'

A woman who was caught with over €115,000 in cash in her home and on her person was acting as a bookkeeper for serious criminals, a Dublin court has heard.

Janet Morrissey (35), a single mother with drug addiction and heavy debts, was "ripe for exploitation" by criminals, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was told today.

Morrissey, with an address in Meile An Ri Drive, Lucan, Co Dublin, was found by gardai with €9,670 in cash in her coat pocket outside her home in Lucan on April 4 last year. A further €108,130 was found in a wardrobe in her bedroom.

She pleaded guilty to possession of €117,800 in cash, which was the proceeds of crime. She will be sentenced on July 24.

Garda Jerome Twomey told Elva Duffy BL, prosecuting, that gardai went to Morrissey's Lucan home on the night in question with a search warrant, where they met Morrissey on her way in.

They discovered wads of cash in her coat pocket, before finding more cash in her bedroom wardrobe. A copy book which was described as a "ledger" was also discovered in the apartment.

Morrissey told gardai she had been given a phone by a man named 'Craig' and that she collected money from various people when she received texts from a person she called 'Boss'. She then sorted it in bundles of €5,000 and €10,000.

She told gardai she had been doing this for four or five weeks, although the ledger showed it had been going on for longer, the court heard.

"She was acting in the role of bookkeeper," Gda Twomey said, adding Morrissey was paid €600 a week for handling the cash.

When asked if the money was the proceeds of crime, Morrissey said she didn't know and never asked questions. She has no previous convictions.

Gda Twomey agreed with defence barrister, Roisin Lacey SC, that Morrissey was an easy target for exploitation.

"The people she would have been dealing with were involved in serious crime," Gda Twomey said.

"I believe that if she were to stop, serious threats would have been made to her."

Ms Lacey submitted that Morrissey had dealt with a "considerable amount of death" in her life, including a miscarriage at the age of 17 and the death of two partners. She said Morrissey turned to alcohol and drugs to escape her depression, which led to her getting involved in the offence.

She was not working and had a cocaine debt of €1,000 and a credit union debt of €9,000 at the time, the court heard.

Ms Lacey said Morrissey voluntarily went into rehab last year and was now alcohol and drug-free. In a letter handed up to court, Morrissey said she had been "existing, not living" but was now turning her life around and was training to be a counsellor.

"I am a work in progress," Morrissey wrote in the letter, saying she attends AA meetings three times a week.

The court heard she has a large family support network with testimonials handed up by her parents, siblings, aunts and cousins. Her father pledged never to let his daughter "fall into that trap again".

Adjourning the case, Judge Gerard Griffin warned Morrissey to remain drug and alcohol-free and to continue attending meetings, saying that if she failed to do so she would forfeit "any chance of leniency".

Isabel Hayes