08 Aug 2022

Dundalk woman jailed for theft of over €27k from Revenue

Dundalk woman jailed for theft of over €27k from Revenue

A former clerical officer who stole over €27,000 from the Revenue Commissioners, had spent the money on her cocaine addiction with some of the money going to others in her peer group, Dundalk Circuit Court heard last week.

Judge Dara Hayes was told Teresa Delduca (33) from Greenacres, Dundalk had diverted the monies into her own bank account between September 2016 and May 2018, using the names of tax payers, but no individuals were at a personal loss or aware of what happened.

The court heard last Thursday that the defendant had diverted €27,565.22 through Revenue’s computer system into her own account at Permanent TSB in Dundalk and the fraud was uncovered after an internal investigation following her return to work, having been on sick leave between April 23rd 2018 and April 15th 2019.

A branch manager with the Revenue Commissioners made a formal complaint at Dundalk Garda Station on September 16th 2019.

The payments, which varied in their amounts, were made under the guise of a refund through tax credits to individuals whose bank account details on the Revenue computer system the clerical officer had changed to her own.

They were passed off as being refunds for health benefits, one parent tax credits and under a CE scheme.

The court heard Ms Delduca, who presented herself voluntarily at Dundalk Garda Station, had made full admissions and was sent forward from the district court having entered signed guilty pleas to 31 counts of theft.

She lost her job in Revenue but has been working in her family’s takeaway business and had repaid €2,250 and was paying back €100 per week.

Defence barrister Vincent Heneghan SC said while his client spent some of the money on personal items like clothing, most of it went on drugs, not only on cocaine for herself, but for a peer group who “took advantage of the money”.

The court heard €7,000 of the stolen money was diverted to the account of another individual, who was not charged, and is also paying that money back.

The defendant had not come to Garda attention before or since for such offending but she had a number of convictions for road traffic matters, including two related to drink-driving.

Mr. Heneghan stressed that even before his client came before the court, she was aware of her difficulties in relation to drugs and alcohol and had attended a residential treatment programme in Waterford in May 2019.

Judge Hayes described it as an elaborate fraud but said he accepted Ms Delduca’s remorse is genuine and noted the defendant had not used cocaine since last October and has been attending Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

He imposed a two and a half years sentence with the final two years suspended on the defendant entering a good behaviour bond, placing herself under the supervision of the Probation service for a year after her release and on condition that she repays the balance of the monies owed within five years.

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