Bookkeeper for serious criminals caught with €115,000 in cash
Janet Morrissey received five year suspended sentence after money found in wardrobe
Judge Gerard Griffin acknowledged that Janet Morrissey (35) was ‘ripe for exploitation’ by criminals as she had a cocaine addiction and heavy debts at the time.
A woman who was caught with over €115,000 in cash while acting as a bookkeeper for serious criminals has received a five year suspended sentence.
Morrissey of Meile An Ri Drive, Lucan, Co Dublin is a single mother and was found by gardaí with €9,670 in cash in her coat pocket outside her home in Lucan on April 4th, 2016. A further €108,130 was found in a wardrobe in her bedroom.
She pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of €117,800 in cash, which was the proceeds of crime. She has no previous convictions.
Judge Griffin said Morrissey provided an “essential service” to drug dealers. But he noted her co-operation and said that she was unlikely to come to future Garda attention.
He further acknowledged that she was now drug free and had a full-time job.
The judge said he had given particular consideration to a letter written by Morrissey’s father when suspending the sentence and asked the man, who was present in court, to keep an eye on her.
He suspended the sentence for five years, saying to Morrissey: “If we see each other again, it won’t be a happy experience.”
Earlier, Garda Jerome Twomey told Elva Duffy BL, prosecuting, that gardaí went to Morrissey’s Lucan home with a search warrant on April 4th, 2016, where they met Morrissey on her way in.
They discovered wads of cash in her coat pocket, before finding more cash in her bedroom wardrobe. A copy book which was described as a “ledger” was also discovered in the apartment.
Morrissey told gardaí she had been given a phone by a man named ‘Craig’ and that she collected money from various people when she received texts from a person she called ‘Boss’. She then sorted it in bundles of €5,000 and €10,000.
She told gardaí she had been doing this for four or five weeks, although the ledger showed it had been going on for longer, the court heard.
“She was acting in the role of bookkeeper,” Gda Twomey said, adding Morrissey was paid €600 a week for handling the cash.
When asked if the money was the proceeds of crime, Morrissey said she did not know and never asked questions.
Gda Twomey agreed with defence barrister, Roisin Lacey SC, that Morrissey was an easy target for exploitation.
“The people she would have been dealing with were involved in serious crime,” Gda Twomey said. “I believe that if she were to stop, serious threats would have been made to her.”
Ms Lacey submitted that Morrissey had dealt with a “considerable amount of death” in her life, including a miscarriage at the age of 17 and the death of two partners. She said Morrissey turned to alcohol and drugs to escape her depression, which led to her getting involved in the offence.
She was not working and had a cocaine debt of €1000 and a credit union debt of €9000 at the time, the court heard.
Ms Lacey said Morrissey voluntarily went into rehab last year and was now alcohol and drug-free. In a letter handed up to court, Morrissey said she had been “existing, not living” but was now turning her life around and was training to be a counsellor.
“I am a work in progress,” Morrissey wrote in the letter, saying she attends AA meetings three times a week.
The court heard she has a large family support network with testimonials handed up by her parents, siblings, aunts and cousins. Her father pledged never to let his daughter “fall into that trap again”.