A north Louth man who uploaded false invoices to drawn-down money from a finance company that had to write-off just under €370,000 after his company went into liquidation, has avoided jail at Dundalk Circuit Court.
A Garda from the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement gave evidence that Pearse O’Connor (39) formerly of Rampark, Jenkinstown had used a set of forged accounts to set up the credit facility as part of the invoice fraud.
The court heard last Thursday that the Garda investigation by officers attached to the ODCE, began following the preparation of a liquidator’s report.
It was established that Keys Commercial Finance Limited had provided a cash-flow facility to Pearse Roofing and Cladding Limited, with a registered address at Ardee Road, Dundalk. The defendant was one of its two directors.
The court heard Keys Commercial Finance provided the company with 75 per cent of the finance, of invoices uploaded to their system by the defendant, who used the money to keep the business afloat.
Although some of the invoices uploaded were genuine and were repaid, the investigating garda told how some of the names on the invoices involved in the book of evidence, had no trading relationship with the defendant’s company.
The set of accounts furnished to Keys Commercial Finance in setting up the discount facility were deemed to be forged and the other counts before the court related to fraudulent trading and the invoices which were uploaded between January and June 2015.
Just under €370,000 was written off by Keys.
The garda agreed with Senior Counsel Barry White defending that his client had been borrowing from Peter to pay Paul for his company to trade out of its difficulties, which the barrister described as a hopeless task. It was also confirmed the guilty pleas had avoided a trial of up to four weeks.
The accused had five previous convictions including two counts of harassment for which he was fined and drink driving.
The court also heard he’s now employed as a sales manager by a Belfast-based company which was owed over €400,000 by Mr. O’Connor’s business.
Mr. White said his client had been misusing alcohol at the time, and was seeking to keep his ship on the sea rather than sinking.
He is now abstaining from alcohol and was assessed as being unlikely to re-offend.
The Senior Counsel added that what his client did was not for his own personal benefit and he had instructions that there was a substantial amount of money owed to his company which was not pursued but was written-off.
He argued no useful purpose would be served by jailing Pearse O’Connor and argued the case is not the normal kind of white collar crime.
Judge Patrick Quinn imposed concurrent sentences totaling five years in their entirety on Mr. O’Connor entering a bond to be of good behaviour and remaining alcohol free during that period.
He also banned him from acting as an officer of any company – as director or secretary for life.
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