Judge Tom O’Donnell imposed a 12 month prison sentence at Limerick Circuit Court
A FORMER company director in Limerick who generated false invoices resulting in the fraudulent payment of more than €600,000 is to begin a twelve month prison sentence at the beginning of May.
Mary Donnelly, aged 71, of Rathmale, Mungret pleaded guilty to an offence under the provisions of the Companies Act after she was prosecuted following an investigation by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.
The defendant was one of the directors of a family-owned business – Shannonside Audio/Video Limited – which was liquidated in November 2013.
The company, which was established in 1979, provided “audio/visual services” to a clients across the country and had a “prestigious list of clients”.
Detective Glen Garda Mackessy of the National Economic Crime Bureau said Shannonside Audio/Video had entered a “debt purchase” arrangement with another company – Close Invoice Finance Limited – which ensured there were no issues regarding cash flow.
He told Limerick Circuit Court that concerns emerged during the ODCE investigation that false invoices had been created by Shannonside in early 2013 and uploaded onto the computerised billing system.
False invoices relating to 35 different clients were identified and the total amount of money paid over by Close Invoice Finance Limited was €648,614.88.
Tom Power BL said his client, who was paid a salary by Shannonside Audio/Video, suffers from ill-health and that a number of other family members were sick around the time the offences took place.
He said she was “just trying to keep the company running and that her family difficulties had affected her ability “to make rational decisions”.
He said Ms Donnelly lost her family home and her pension as a result of what happened and that she “has nothing left”.
Imposing sentence, described what happened as a “serious, deliberate, intentional and systematic crime".
He noted her age and personal circumstances and that there was no evidence that the money had been used to fund an extravagant lifestyle.
The judge imposed an 18 month prison sentence, suspending the final six months. Mrs Donnelly was ordered to present herself to gardai by noon on May 1, next.