Credit controller who stole over €20,000 avoids prison

Woman pleads guilty to theft from Chadwicks in Sallynoggin

Judge Martin Nolan sentenced Jacinta Dixon to three years in prison which he suspended in full on strict conditions

Judge Martin Nolan sentenced Jacinta Dixon to three years in prison which he suspended in full on strict conditions

 

SONYA McLEAN

A credit controller who stole more than €20,000 from her employer because she was “overwhelmed” by her domestic financial situation has avoided jail.

Jacinta Dixon (52), a mother of two, of The Oaks, Keatingstown, in Wicklow, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to five sample charges of theft from Chadwicks in Sallynoggin on dates between February 1st and November 5th, 2013. She has one previous conviction for speeding.

A total of €20,554 was stolen over that period and Dixon has since repaid it having secured a loan to do so.

Judge Martin Nolan sentenced Dixon to three years in prison which he suspended in full on strict conditions as he said it would be “unjust” to jail her. He said she had decided to improve her situation by stealing small amounts of money from her employer over an extended period of time.

Judge Nolan accepted Dixon had expressed remorse but said she had breached the trust of her employer, who was entitled to rely on her for honesty.

Dixon had been working with Chadwicks in Sallynoggin for 19 years when it was noticed there was a reoccurring delay in that day’s taking being lodged at end of business each day.

It was Dixon’s responsibility, as credit controller for that branch, to hand over the day’s taking to security workers at Brinks for lodgement.

Garda Josephine Holahan told Roisin Lacey, prosecuting, that when Dixon was questioned about the delay she claimed it was a problem with the Brinks collector and reassured Chadwicks head office that the issue would be resolved.

Two months later, when the problem had not been rectified, inquiries were again made with Dixon and she admitted she had been stealing money from the takings. She was deliberately delaying lodging each day’s takings to allow her to pocket small amounts of cash. The following day, she would use the cash taken in that day to make up the difference from the previous day.

Dixon showed head office that she had made up lodgements and bank giros to tally with the amount that had actually been taken in the day before and would use the current day’s takings to make up the difference. She was suspended immediately and has not worked since.

Dixon later told gardaí in interview that she would take a few hundred euro each time to allow her to pay outstanding domestic bills.

She said she had asked her boss at Chadwicks for a loan 2½ years previous to her arrest, as she wasn’t coping financially, but her request was refused.

Garda Holahan agreed with Dean Kelly, defending, that on some level Dixon believed the money she was taking was a loan. She accepted there was “an element of fantasy” on Dixon’s behalf in this regard but confirmed that the woman genuinely always intended to pay Chadwicks back.

Garda Holahan confirmed gardaí were satisfied that Dixon, who was the sole earner in the family, had not used the cash on anything other than paying household bills and mortgage repayments.

She agreed it wasn’t a sophisticated theft and Dixon had co-operated “fully and honestly” with Chadwicks and the Garda from the moment of detection.

Mr Kelly said his client had a good working record with the company and they were surprised by her involvement in this theft.

He said she was under “immense personal and financial pressure” and had become “overwhelmed by her ordinary domestic financial situation”.