7 October 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

A 33-years-old Co. Monaghan female shop assistant who stole in excess of €80,000 from her employer over a period of several weeks in 2009 and 2010 was ordered by a judge to undertake 240 hours community service, as an alternative to a two-year jail sentence at Monaghan Circuit Criminal Court on Tuesday.
Linda Creegan, of 4, The Grove, Corduff, Carrickmacross, and also with an address at Ardenew, Longwood, Co. Meath, pleaded guilty to five charges of stealing cash in excess of €80,192 from Terry Cassidy , a businessman, of Tir Chonaill Service Station, Dublin Road Carrickmacross, while working at Mr. Cassidy’s South Monaghan roadside premises.
Ms. Creegan had faced a total of twenty-two charges, but prosecuting counsel Frank Martin B.L. said the State was prepared to proceed with the acceptance of guilty pleas to five counts.
Sergt. David Forde, Carrickmacross, gave evidence of investigating the theft of the money at the premises, after Mr. Cassidy had discovered irregularities at his premises involving periods when Ms. Creegan was on duty.
He revealed that it transpired Ms Creegan would ring up a “sale” on the till and after the customer would pay for the goods purchased she would “void” the transaction on the cash register.
He said Ms. Creegan would take the money from the purchases she had marked “void” for her own use, and put the cash in her handbag, out of the sight of a CCTV camera.
Sergt. Forde said that after arresting Ms Creegan on January 8th she was reluctant at first to admit her guilt. He said that she was found to have €4,235 in her handbag and later she gave the sergeant an envelope with €12,000 in €50 notes which, she said, belonged to her employer. During a subsequent search of a house, which the accused shared with her boy-friend at the time, a further €3,344 was recovered.
Sergeant Forde said that the total amount which Ms Creegan had admitted taking over the period from Mr. Cassidy was €45,000, but Mr. Cassidy’s auditors had advised that, for the previous twelve months it was reckoned in the region of €106,000 had gone missing from his accounts. Defence counsel Monica Lawlor B.L. told the court the accused,who had a number of credit union and bank accounts, had since refunded the monies taken to her former employer, and felt great remorse over what she had done. She had since gained new employment and had a reference in court to indicate she was now regarded as a trusted employee.
Judge John O’Hagan, in imposing the community service order, said that while the offence merited at least a two-year jail term, the prisons are overcrowded at present, and he felt community service was the best option in the particular case.

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