A woman who ran up €3,000 of fraudulent transactions on a debit card belonging to a friend’s mother did so to facilitate daily living and to get away from a “difficult” situation at home, Kilmallock district court has heard.
Judge Marian O’Leary was told that Denyse O’Brien of 16 Sruthain an Padraig, Rhebogue was “mortified” by her actions and had apologised to the injured party.
Det Garda Mike Reidy gave evidence that Ms O’Brien had become friendly with the injured party’s daughter through a course they were both doing. Last July, the woman gave Ms O’Brien her debit card to organise a birthday party for her daughter. Ms O’Brien subsequently returned the card but retained the card number and other details and in the months that followed carried out 51 separate transactions amounting to €3,000
Among the items bought with the card were a €500 deposit on a car and a three-night stay in a Limerick hotel which cost €240.
Det Garda Reidy told the court that Ms O’Brien subsequently wrote an email to the injured party admitting having made the transactions. However, he added that she was “economical with the truth” in this email.
He added that Ms O’Brien had one previous conviction for producing a false insurance cert.
Solicitor Sharon Davern told the court that her client had been co-operative with gardai and that she had made contact with the woman whose card she had used “prior to the garda involvement”.
That email was written in September and Ms O’Brien made a statement to gardai in November.
Ms Davern added that the defendant was going through “very significant personal difficulties at that time”.
“At the time she didn’t have access to her own money and she was using the card for taxis, for food, for paying her own bills,” the solicitor explained.
She pointed out that the hotel room had been booked “to stay there because of certain difficulties which arose – it was not a holiday”.
Ms Davern also showed the judge a letter from Ms O’Brien’s GP outlining her situation.
“This is a very unfortunate situation in that the defendant was using the card to facilitate daily living, to try to put money away to get away from a certain situation,” the solicitor said.
“She is mortified by what she did. It was a very short period and it coincided with a very difficult period in her life,” she added.
The court was told that Ms O’Brien was saving up to repay the injured party. She had saved €2,250 to date and the once that reached €3,000, it would be handed over.
Judge O’Leary adjourned the case to June 16 for finalisation.