Lurgan woman who stole £ 80,000 from Co Armagh employer asked if she could keep her job – Armagh I
A Lurgan A woman whose family “rallied” to repay the £ 80,000 she stole from her employers “will forever be known as a dishonest person”.
Brenda Brady (50) narrowly escaped jail Friday for what Judge Patrick Lynch QC called a “serious breach of trust” against her former employers.
Imposing a 30-month prison sentence, the Craigavon Crown Court judge said it was “reluctantly” to suspend the sentence for three years, but warned the 50-year-old “if you re-appear in court, you are unlikely to get leniency which I extend.
“It’s hard to imagine the degradation of a human being, going to work every day, looking her employer straight in the eye, knowing you were stealing her blind,” the judge told Brady.
When arrested in January, Brady, of Belvedere Manor in Lurgan, confessed to two of the six charges against her – theft of £ 80,000 from Alana Interiors and possession of criminal property of £ 2,990 and 695 euros between January 1, 2014 and November 29. 2016.
Brady had been accused of stealing £ 120,000, but this was curtailed by an agreement between defense and prosecution lawyers.
Opening the facts of the case on Friday, attorney’s attorney Nicola Auret said Alana Interiors owner and manager Carol Little had been “concerned for some time about the seemingly low revenues” at the cafe where Brady worked. as counter staff.
“On November 12, 2016, she spent the day at the cafe herself and found that it was very crowded but at the end of the day the recipes were way below expectations,” said Ms. Auret.
Ms Little conducted her own investigation, checking cash rolls, CCTV footage and daily sales records “and as a result it was discovered that the accused was stealing £ 200-300 a day” when she was working.
This investigation also established that “when the accused was not working the earnings were higher,” the attorney said adding that when Brady was called to a disciplinary meeting in November 2016, “she said she was sorry and wondering if she could possibly keep it working. “
Later the same day she was fired, Brady was arrested, questioned and her home searched with police seizing cash in the amount of £ 2,990 and € 695.
Ms Auret said that while Brady’s guilty plea was a mitigating factor, as was his previously clear criminal record, “the fact that it was a very large sum of money, stolen over a period of time. of considerable time “while Brady was a” trusted employee “were the aggravating factors.
The lawyer revealed that “all the money” stolen by Brady has been refunded and that Alana Interiors “is still in business.”
Defense lawyer Ciara Ennis told Judge Lynch that Brady took out a loan and used “all of his financial settlement in the divorce” to pay back £ 23,675 in restitution while the rest had been reunited by her partner, her parents and two of her sons.
Claiming the offense was’ totally out of character ‘for Brady, Ms Ennis said:’ I can’t say it was a crazy moment as it was over an extended period of time, but the trigger seems to be that his three kids were all in college at the same time and at this point in their lives when they needed driving lessons and insurance… she wanted her kids to be able to have the same as their friends.
Lawyer admitted that even though the offenses “went over the custody line” and warranted jail time, she argued that there were exceptional circumstances in which Brady was caring for his elderly mother who suffers from dementia. with Lewy bodies.
“There would be a big impact on her mother if she was given a prison term,” Ms. Ennis said.
Upon Brady’s sentencing, Judge Lynch read Ms Little’s statement in which she spoke about asking her manager if there was a “reasonable explanation” for the drop in levies, telling the court that of course ” the reasonable explanation was that you were stealing money.
He told Brady it was “amazing” that she asked to keep her job after finding out about her series of thefts, especially since “you had to know that as a small business you were putting the everyone’s work in danger “.
Regarding the restitution, said the judge, if it was a mitigating circumstance, his family had been forced to “come together at great personal expense and, without a doubt, the distress of seeing you at home. court and the humiliating circumstances you find yourself in and have to impoverish to cover up your criminal activity.
“You will forever be known as a dishonest person,” Judge Lynch concluded.
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