'ashamed' | 

Dublin receptionist who stole over €34k from former employer avoids jail

Kerrie O'Byrne (46) used the money to buy personal items including petrol, clothes and flowers and gifts for others

Kerrie O'Byrne (46) of Monalea Grove, Firhouse, Dublin

Kerrie O'Byrne (46)

Eimear DoddSunday World

A receptionist who stole over €34,000 from her former employer has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Kerrie O'Byrne (46) of Monalea Grove, Firhouse, Dublin used the money to buy personal items including petrol, clothes and flowers and gifts for others, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

She pleaded guilty to over 30 counts of theft at various locations on dates between 2013 and 2019.

The court heard that O'Byrne worked as a receptionist for an engineering company and as part of her role she had use of a company credit card. Imposing sentence on Thursday, Judge Martin Nolan said O'Byrne should be “ashamed” of her actions.

Judge Nolan said he inferred that O'Byrne had worked for a large company and her actions may have had no great impact on its profitability, but said “stealing from an employer is a serious matter”,

An employer is entitled to trust their employees, but O'Byrne had breached that trust, Judge Nolan said. He imposed a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence, suspended on strict conditions.

The court heard that a fraudulent transaction of €2,500 was identified in June 2020, and O'Byrne’s employer put it to her that money was missing. O'Byrne admitted she had taken the money, and resigned, agreeing to repay the amount taken.

A subsequent investigation by her former employer found that the accused had stolen a total of €34,250 over several years.

Detective Gavin Bowen told the court that the company had introduced a new expenses process in the months before the thefts were uncovered. It transpired that O'Byrne was not entering expenses properly, though efforts were taken to help her to learn the new process.

O'Byrne, who has no previous convictions, admitted the thefts and apologised following her arrest. She had used the company credit card to buy personal items including petrol, clothes shopping online and flowers, the court heard.

Kerrie O'Byrne (46)

The investigating garda told the court that O'Byrne's former employer had approximately 200 employees.

Det Bowen agreed with defence counsel that O'Byrne had stolen between €3,000 and €4,000 annually over the period in question. She used the money to buy gifts for others, due to a people-pleasing tendency.

His client was in a position to repay the amount taken in full, as her husband had sold some property.

A psychological report was handed into the court on behalf of O'Byrne. Defence counsel said she has taken steps to address the root cause of her offending and is living a “reformed life”.

O'Byrne had two previous relationships which had been abusive. She also had issues with drink, but is now sober.

Judge Nolan noted that the mitigating factors were good in this case and O'Byrne was in a position to repay her former employer. He ordered that the money be repaid to the company within the next month.


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