Student stole cash from employer to help pay for dispute-resolution degree

Man took nearly €7,000 from newsagents by voiding transactions, court told

A university student stole nearly €7,000 from his newsagent employer to help pay for his Masters course in dispute resolution, a Dublin court has heard.

Eoram Dobnam De Lima (26) regularly voided transactions while working on the till in a Centra store, before taking that amount in cash at the end of his shift, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard on Tuesday.

De Lima, with an address in Newport Street, Dublin, pleaded guilty to three counts of stealing property from Centra in Charlemont Street between November 1st, 2019 and January 15th, 2020.

He stole a total of €6,936 in cash over 742 voided transactions, the court heard.


Garda Tao Yu told Derek Cooney BL, prosecuting, the owner of the store, Robert O'Leary, was alerted to some irregularities in voided transactions by a till security system.

He and the shop manager investigated the time of the transactions and matched them with CCTV footage, where De Lima could be seen carrying out the voided transactions and making a note of them.

The court heard De Lima would tot up the amounts of the voided transactions at the end of the day before taking that amount in cash out of the till.

When confronted by his managers, De Lima immediately confessed to taking the money. He also admitted to taking money from the shop in September 2019, but CCTV footage did not go back that far so there was no available evidence, the court heard.

Gerardine Small BL, defending, said De Lima is originally from Brazil but has been living and studying in Ireland for the last three to four years. He has no previous convictions.

“He used the money to pay for college fees,” Ms Small said. “He is doing a Masters in Dispute Resolution.”

Ms Small said De Lima was extremely remorseful and wished to pay the money back, but his passport has been surrendered as part of his bail conditions and he cannot renew his work visa. He is currently on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), she said.

Ms Small agreed with Judge Melanie Greally that De Lima is still studying and is still financing his Masters course.

“It might have been better directed to making good the loss to Mr O’Leary than financing his education,” Judge Greally said. “He may not be in a position to enjoy the benefits of that education as a result of this offence.”

The judge adjourned the matter for six months to get a number of reports and to allow De Lima to save money as restitution for Mr O’Leary.

“The breach of trust is a very significant one,” the judge said. “Mr De Lima is going to have to put his best foot forward on all fronts if he is to avoid some element of custody on the next occasion.”

The matter will return to court on October 5th.