A FORMER post mistress was given a two-year suspended jail sentence for defrauding An Post of almost €25,000.
Elizabeth Broderick, aged 35, of 22 Willow Drive, Cluain Ard, Cobh, was sentenced at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
She pleaded guilty to charges that at the post office at West Beach, Cobh, she did dishonestly by deception induce An Post to lodge money with the intention of making gain for herself.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said: “The accused was a post mistress in this sub-post-office when she defrauded An Post of €25,000 or just short of it.
“When the fraud came to light she was cooperative and she pleaded guilty.
“Since some time back she compensated them in full so there is no loss accruing to the injured party.
“There was a significant breach of trust. I take into consideration what (defence barrister Dónal O’Sullivan) said, that because of the nature of the business she was in she was in over her head. And by her own account she says it started to snowball.”
The judge said that the plea of guilty entered by the accused was of benefit as it obviated the necessity for a trial, noting that trials in cases such as this can be complicated.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said that in all the circumstances a sentence of two years — fully suspended — was appropriate.
Mr O’Sullivan said the post mistress had been “robbing Peter to pay Paul” by writing cheques on one account and transferring money to pay those cheques.
The defence barrister submitted that when the defendant took on the business she was also taking on significant overheads and quickly got into financial difficulties and was writing cheques for which there was no money to meet them until she transferred it from the business account.
The deception referred to in the charges related to a period in August/September 2017.