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RUTHLESS Victims of bookkeeper who stole €90k say he 'bled them dry' during hardest year of their lives

Callous employee of 22 years fleeced small family business after fire destroyed premises

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Callous Derek Moore was jailed for six months this week

Callous Derek Moore was jailed for six months this week

Callous Derek Moore was jailed for six months this week

The victims of a bookkeeper who stole more than €90,000 from a small family business which had employed him for 22 years say he took advantage of them during the hardest year of their life.

Derek Moore (49), from Huntstown Avenue in Clonsilla, Dublin, was jailed for six months this week.

He had worked for Energy Saver Insulations for decades but had secretly been pocketing money by getting clients to pay him in cash which he kept instead of putting it through company books.

Callous Moore continued to steal from the company just days after a fire destroyed their premises and machinery and the family feared the business was on the verge of collapse.

Moore was shocked when he was sentenced to six months behind bars this week after Dublin Circuit Court heard he spent thousands on meals out and in off-licences, despite initially telling the court he had taken the money to use for medical expenses for a sick child.

The offences took place between February and November 2018.

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Moore had been employed at the company for two decades

Moore had been employed at the company for two decades

Moore had been employed at the company for two decades

 

Incredibly, Moore went on sick leave and refused to resign after the fraud was first uncovered and after he eventually left the business he put the company down as his work reference.

Tony Higgins, who runs the company with his wife Irene and daughter Chelsea, told the Sunday World that Moore completely betrayed their trust.

"To have a member of staff who was employed for over 22 years take such despicable and ruthless advantage of us during the hardest year of our lives following the loss of our premises, forklift and truck in 2018, was gut wrenching.

"We had been fighting tooth and nail to keep him and other members of staff employed and were financially stretched to our limit. This did not stop Derek Moore stealing from us for a second."

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He explained how just one week after the fire Moore had started manipulating a new accounts package they had set up - so he could continue stealing money.

"He was manipulating the brand new accounts package the week we set it up following the fire. He was meeting customers to collect his cash for goods we supplied and delivered while we were trawling Dublin 12 looking for a new premises. I believe this says more about the man's character than anything else."

Chelsea Higgins described Moore as a "scumbag" who "had no respect or remorse" and said the stress of the situation had an enormous effect on the family.

"We never received an apology from this man. We haven't received one word from him except for his barrister telling us to stop looking at him [in court]."

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Tony Higgins told of the anguish his family suffered

Tony Higgins told of the anguish his family suffered

Tony Higgins told of the anguish his family suffered

 

She said that just days after the fire Moore plotted to continue stealing the cash while he watched her mother break down in tears as she sat in a temporary office and looked across at the burnt-out premises across the way.

"He was bleeding us dry while we were on our knees. My father was on the verge of a heart attack and mental breakdown and the company was on the verge of collapse. Meanwhile, Derek Moore was taking us for every penny we had," she said.

"The fire had an enormous toll on all our mental health and this was like a knife in the back. It was so difficult to keep the business going and keep ourselves going at that time."

She told how her father's blood pressure went through the roof at the time and she feared he'd have a heart attack.

"I was afraid he'd keel over. My mam had to start taking sleeping tablets.

"In April 2019 I got really bad chest pains and ended up in A&E thinking I was having a heart attack, but it turned out to be anxiety and stress.

"We were already in a weakened state. We were all struggling and he didn't even think about stopping." While Moore pleaded guilty to stealing €92,700 from Energy Saver Insulations Ltd, on dates between February and November 2018, the family believe he was doing it for at least a year before that and could have pocketed even more cash - but that the fire destroyed evidence.

"We weren't able to prove it criminally. It has to be beyond reasonable doubt, but we do believe this was happening prior to 2018."

Even after he pleaded guilty, Moore continued to lie. He tried to claim he didn't instigate the fraud.

Judge Pauline Codd suggested Moore was "not helping his case" by claiming three separate customers who didn't know each other approached him and instigated the thefts.

He also claimed he carried out the thefts to pay for medical expense for a sick child.

Moore told gardai his child was waiting on a scoliosis operation and that they had been "let down by the HSE". He said the price of an operation in the United States was €30,000 and he also needed funds for travelling and time off work.

Moore was shocked when the court asked him for documentary evidence to back up his claims after hearing the child was actually treated in Ireland.

"He was asked to provide proof of people he contacted in America and proof from his accounts that he was saving for something and he wasn't able to provide that," Chelsea said.

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Callous Derek Moore was jailed for six months this week

Callous Derek Moore was jailed for six months this week

Callous Derek Moore was jailed for six months this week

 

"A garda detective then had to go through his bank statements.

"There was a lot on restaurants. There was over €5,000 on restaurants in nine months. There was €1,800 spent on off-licences in nine months. There was very little evidence that it was going towards any medical expenses."

Moore then changed his story to say he spent the money on restaurants to keep up family spirits. The accounts only showed what he paid by card and not how he spent withdrawn cash.

"He did go on a lot of holidays. He spent money like there was no tomorrow, like he always thought there was another few grand coming to him," Chelsea said.

Tony added: "Sitting in court, having him lie about not being the instigator of the scheme and even use his daughter's poor health as an excuse for his behaviour was painful.

"We are glad that later, when asked to provide proof of his assertion he was saving for an operation in the States, this was proven to be false. When we learned of the amount he spent on eating out in restaurants, the off-licence and high living we weren't surprised, though it stung to know how frivolously he spent the money we had worked so hard to earn."

Tony said the fraud amounted to so much more than just the stolen money from their company.

"There is hurt and betrayal, there is the struggle we had to keep our business going and eventually build it back up, not to mention the breach of trust, the mental toll and the long-term impact something like this has on a person."

He said there are businesses that do not survive a situation like this.

"There have been the loss of livelihoods, homes, and sometimes even lives as a result of actions like that of Derek Moore's."

He said fraud and embezzlement against a company is seen by some as a victimless crime.

"We can tell you first-hand that as a family-run small business this is not the case. Hopefully this judgment will be a deterrent to anyone who might find themselves in a similar position to Derek Moore and have the opportunity to abuse their and position.

"We would suggest to any small business to learn what teeming and lading means, to understand it and know how the scheme works and do not depend on accountants to be doing this for you, because if what happens to us shows anything it is that trusting the wrong people can cost you dearly."

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