A man who stole over €1,000 from a Laois man by fraudulently using the injured party’s bank card has been told that if he pays full compensation he will be put on probation.
Before last week’s sitting of Portlaoise District Court was Joseph Bergin (22), facing 59 criminal charges.
When the case first came before the court in March last, Sgt JJ Kirby gave evidence that on January 21, 2017, the injured party came to Abbeyleix Garda Station to report credit card fraud.
The details were that on December 26, 2016, the injured party was at Dublin Airport when they noticed that a substantial amount of money was missing from their account.
The card was cancelled and when the injured party returned to Ireland they noticed that 70 fraudulent transactions had taken place. An investigation took place and the accused, Joseph Bergin (22), was identified.
He committed a number of fraudulent transactions between November 28, 2016, and January 1, 2017, to a total loss of €1,034.90. Some items were recovered from him and the bank reimbursed the injured party some €977.
The accused made full admissions to the offences. The two parties were acquaintances but not friends, the court heard.
Defence for the accused in March, Ms Louise Troy said that the accused had initially used the card for takeaway food, which was how he got the card number.
She said the accused, the eldest of six children, had been accompanied to court by his parents.
He had recently completed residential treatment after developing an addiction to a cocktail of drugs, including benzodiazepines and cannabis, said Ms Troy. The reason for his offending was that it had been fuelled by his addiction and he had been prone to irrational behaviour, she said.
Defence also said that the accused had €500 compensation in court and was willing to reimburse the injured party. He had also written a letter of apology.
Judge Catherine Staines said that the fraudulent use of bank cards was a huge problem and anyone who gets involved in this type of offending merits a prison sentence.
However, she said this had not been a sophisticated enterprise and the accused had suffered with addiction problems, which he had now addressed.
She directed that the €500 compensation go to the Bank of Ireland in Abbeyleix, and adjourned the matter for the accused to pay another €500. The judge also directed a probation report on the accused.
The matter was put back to May 17.
At last week’s court, solicitor, Mr Barry Fitzgerald said his client had €190 of the compensation and would have the balance in two weeks.
Judge Staines noted that there was an excellent probation report on the accused and said if he paid the compensation she would apply the probation act.
The matter was adjourned to June 21 for the balance of €310.