Woman who stole €190,000 from employers jailed

Court hears although woman had financial pressures due to mounting debt, she spent the money on tarot hotlines and ‘nonsense’ internet shopping

Mary O’Toole of Elmfield Drive, Clarehall, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sample charges of theft from Forest Tosara, on dates between April 30th, 2008, and September 16th, 2010. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Mary O’Toole of Elmfield Drive, Clarehall, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sample charges of theft from Forest Tosara, on dates between April 30th, 2008, and September 16th, 2010. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Fri, Jan 17, 2014, 01:00

A Dublin mother of two who embezzled almost €190,000 from two employers including the National Concert Hall has been jailed for a year.

The court heard that although Mary O’Toole (44) had severe financial pressures at the time due to mounting debt, she spent the money on tarot reading hotlines and “nonsense” internet shopping.

O’Toole of Elmfield Drive, Clarehall, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sample charges of theft from Forest Tosara Ltd, which manufactures Sudocrem, on dates between April 30th, 2008, and September 16th, 2010.

She also admitted theft of a computer hard drive from the company on February 14th, 2011. Judge Mary Ellen Ring said this was an effort by O’Toole to cover her tracks.

She also pleaded guilty to sample charges of theft, totalling €49,820, from the National Concert Hall between December 13th, 2011, and February 22nd, 2012.

O’Toole began offending after her marital separation. She was diagnosed with depression in 2004 and suffered stress-related alopecia.

Lost her good name
Judge Ring said O’Toole has now lost her good name and will find it impossible to find work in the payroll area in which she is skilled. The judge imposed a sentence of three years imprisonment backdated to December 18th, 2013, and suspended the last two years. Det Garda Darren Burke told Michael Bowman, prosecuting, that O’Toole manipulated Forest Tosara’s payroll system to lodge €139,848 into four of her bank accounts through 209 transactions.

Initially suspended
She was initially suspended without pay in February 2011 when a colleague became suspicious and confronted her. The next day the relevant documentation went missing along with her computer.

Det Garda Adrian Kelly of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation said the following December, O’Toole secured an agency contract as an account clerk with the National Concert Hall having used a bogus CV which didn’t include details of her position with Forest Tosara.

She went on to steal from them by directing legitimate payments to creditors into her own bank accounts, again by manipulating the company’s automated computer system.

When some of the companies queried the late payments O’Toole transferred money from her bank account to the relevant company’s to cover her tracks. She has one previous conviction from the District Court for stealing more than €7,400 from a different employer over a number of months in 2011. She has yet to be sentenced over this.

Aileen Donnelly SC, defending, said O’Toole was diagnosed with depression when she was going through a particularly stressful period due to “marital disharmony”.