A bookkeeper who stole thousands of euro from the family-run business he worked at for over 20 years claimed he did so to save for his child's operation, a court has heard.
Derek Moore (48) colluded with three of his employer's customers to give them cheaper materials in exchange for cash payments, which he lodged into his own account instead of the company's, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard on Friday.
Moore, with an address at Huntstown Avenue, Blanchardstown, pleaded guilty to five counts of stealing just over €92,700 from his employer, Energy Saver Insulations Ltd, on dates between February and November 2018.
He also pleaded guilty to one count of falsifying the accounts at the company, which is located in Dublin 12, on February 15, 2018. He has no previous convictions.
Detective Garda Gareth Daly told John Byrne BL, prosecuting, that Moore cashed a total of €48,000 from the three customers on 14 separate occasions during the period in question. The remaining money stolen represented the loss to the company for the discounted materials, the court heard.
When questioned by gardaí in March 2019, Moore said his child was waiting on a scoliosis operation and they had been “let down by the HSE”. He said the price of an operation in the US was €30,000 and he also needed funds for travelling and time off work.
The court heard the child was eventually treated in Ireland.
Mr Byrne told the court that Energy Saver Insulations, a small, family-run business, was hit with a “devastating” fire in February 2018, which led to a significant loss of documentation.
They hired an independent consultant to help reconstitute the documents, which led to financial irregularities being uncovered. Three customers were identified who had not paid the company, despite receiving goods.
It emerged Moore, who worked as a bookkeeper for the company for 22 years, met these three men separately on a number of occasions and they paid cash for the goods at a reduced rate. Moore then lodged the money in his personal bank account and doctored the company accounts to cover it up.
No charges have been brought against these three customers, although the court heard there are some civil cases pending.
Moore has repaid €33,000 of the money he stole.
When questioned by gardaí, he claimed the arrangement was “not his idea” and that he was approached by the customers. However, it was unclear whether these customers knew each other, the court heard.
Judge Pauline Codd suggested Moore was “not helping his case” by claiming three separate people approached him and instigated the thefts.
Defence barrister, Cathal McGreal BL, conceded his client was “the inside man” in the operation. He said Moore was remorseful and had expressed his regret for what he had done.
Moore had previously been on good terms with the company directors, the court heard. He has since lost his job and is currently unemployed.
Mr McGreal said Moore used some of the money for medical expenses for his child. He said Moore did not live in a fancy house or display any signs of wealth. “He was not living it up,” he said.
The court heard Moore was approached by a newspaper in relation to the incident and was photographed on his doorstep. As a result, he is now “afraid to show his face”, Mr McGreal said. He is also likely to find it difficult to get employment, he added.
Judge Codd criticised the media for covering the matter ahead of the sentence hearing, saying the case must proceed by “the rule of law, not the rule of tabloids”. “It's not acceptable,” the judge said.
She ordered a Probation Report and adjourned the matter to July 26, next, for finalisation.
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