A CAR salesman who stole tens of thousands of euro from his employer by selling cars off the books has been warned he will go to prison if he does not pay back the money he stole.
Previously, Denis Curtin, aged 44, of Woodview Park, Newcastle West pleaded guilty to 13 counts of theft relating to offences on dates during 2008 and 2009.
The total amount of money stolen by the defendant was €44,950.
During a sentencing hearing, which was heard in 2013, Limerick Circuit Court was told the defendant was employed as a sales manager at Liam Cleary’s Car Sales, Eastway Business Park and that he was a “trusted” employee who had “full control” over the sale of cars at the premises.
Detective Garda Christine Bergin said the owner of the company, whose main dealership is in Ennis, alerted gardai in October, 2009 after he became suspicious.
She said when the married father-of-two was confronted by his employer he admitted the fraud.
He also made admissions to gardai and handed over a list of all the cars he had sold.
John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, said the defendant had abused his position of trust and that it was a “stealing from Peter to Pay Paul scenario”.
Michael Collins BL said, Curtin, who had worked for the company since 2005, had gotten into financial difficulties after he bought a second house “off the plans” in 2006.
He said the house was not finished by the developer and that his client had to pay various tradesmen to get it ready.
“It is an example of the fallout of the property bubble,” he said adding that his client had ended up “in the eye of a perfect storm”.
The case was previously adjourned to allow the defendant repay the monies he stole.
On Monday, Mr Justice Carroll Moran was told that almost €23,000 has been repaid to date and that Curtin hopes to repay the balance over the next two years.
The judge noted this equates to monthly payments of around €1,000.
He imposed a two-year prison sentence, which he suspended for four years on condition the money is repaid as outlined.