Man who nicked €13k from job to feed gambling habit avoids jail

Man who nicked €13k from job to feed gambling habit avoids jail

A young father who stole €13,000 from his employer in order to feed his gambling addiction has avoided jail.

Jason Whelan (26), of Ferrycarrig Drive, Coolock, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to five sample counts of stealing money from Europcar, Swords Road, Santry on dates between May and July 2013.

Judge Melanie Greally said the offences were a serious breach of trust and that none of the money has been repaid due to Whelan's limited financial circumstances.

She noted that the court was told his gambling addiction has come to an end and that he appears remorseful.

Judge Greally said the court had to grapple with the fact that the company had suffered a significant loss and balance that against the guilty plea. She noted Whelan's extensive co-operation and the underlying link between the offending and his gambling addiction. She imposed a three year sentence which she suspended in full.

The investigating garda told Caroline Cummings BL, prosecuting, that part of Whelan's responsibilities at the company involved closing off customer accounts and refunding money to debit or credit cards. It was in this role that he lodged money to his own account 30 times taking a total of €13,852 belonging to the company.

The thefts came to light when another employee tried to process a refund and Whelan admitted the offences when confronted. He told gardai that he had taken the money due to a gambling addiction.

Whelan has 10 previous convictions including three previous convictions for theft.

The garda agreed with David Staunton BL, defending, that Whelan had already been confronted and summarily dismissed by the time gardai arrived. He agreed Whelan assisted gardai and co-operated fully with the investigation. Whelan has not come to gardai attention in the three years since these offences.

Mr Staunton said Whelan had been a heavy gambler and the money taken had gone straight into feeding that habit. The father of one was also using cocaine at the time. His partner is now expecting a second child.

He said Whelan was now working in sales but was currently certified sick due to depression. He said Whelan's earning ability was limited and he had not been in a position to repay the money to Europcar. He handed in a letter of apology in which he outlined his “deep regret and remorse.”

Counsel said Whelan had a difficult upbringing and been referred to mental health services in relation to his own depressive episode. He had also attended with Donnycarney drug and alcohol service.

He said Whelan had sought to address his difficulties and had resolved the issues which lead to his offending.