An 18-month jail term was imposed today on a Cork woman with a gambling addiction who was “robbing Peter to pay Paul” in a case where she ended up stealing from three different employers.
Detective Garda Cormac Ryan said Emma Fehily’s latest crimes consisted of stealing 67 high-end smart phones – one worth as much as €1,100 – by ordering them without her employer’s knowledge and then selling them through Donedeal and other websites.
Det. Garda Ryan said today she was selling them at knock-down prices, probably making about €20,000 from the phones worth twice that amount in total.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said a significant aggravating factor was the theft committed from two other employers previously.
Noting from defence barrister, Sinead Behan, that Fehily had an online gambling addiction, the judge said it was well known what a pervasive addiction this could be.
He sentenced the accused to three years with half of it suspended at Cork Circuit Criminal Court on two counts of deception and 67 counts of theft relating to a period between January 17 2017 and November 15 2018 at Rockewell Automation, IDA industrial estate, Midleton, Cork.
The judge said there was no prospect of Fehily compensating her former employer.
Ms Behan BL said Fehily committed the thefts partly in an effort to raise compensation for employers in two older theft cases and partly to pay gambling debts.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin was told that in the three-year sentence with half of it suspended - plus a consecutive one-year on the second case - which he imposed on Fehily for the older cases she was released from prison on temporary release after serving five months.
The judge said in relation to that early release, “You would wonder why bother.”
Emma Fehily of Rockboro Heights, Waterpark, Carrigaline, County Cork, was previously sentenced for stealing over €25,000 at Johnson and Perrott garage where she worked back in 2014 and 2015.
She also worked at Westbourne IT Solutions where said she had a position of trust. Between October 2015 and November 2016 she used that position to purchase phones and IT components on behalf of the company but brought them home and sold them through the Donedeal website.
He said the company was at a loss of just over €34,600.
This was also the nature of the thefts in the latest case at Rockwell Automation where the stolen phones costing over €40,000.