A former high-ranking manager at Musgrave Ltd in Cork stole almost €400,000 from his then employer and bought a house with it and now – after reimbursing the company in full – he has been given a fully suspended sentence.
Donagh McClafferty of Rockfield, Church Road, Blackrock, Cork, faced sentencing before Judge Catherine Staines at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
Detective Garda James O’Reilly outlined the background to the charges that on December 8 2017 at Musgrave Ltd, Ballycurreen, Airport Road, the accused used a false instrument – an invoice - and that between December 1 2017 and April 15 2019, he stole the sum of €381,900 from Musgrave Ltd..
The 48-year-old was a high-ranking manager in Musgrave’s and the offences involved falsifying invoices in respect of two transactions. Two companies making payments to Musgrave’s were directed to make the payments to a bank account which was effectively under his personal control and he used these funds to purchase a house.
“Following the internal investigation gardaí were notified. He was interviewed and fully admitted the offences. Musgrave Ltd. was the injured party,” the detective said.
Defence barrister, Alan O’Dwyer, said that when Donagh McClafferty was interviewed by gardaí on October 10 2020 he had at that stage fully repaid the monies to Musgrave Ltd. He said this was done before the gardaí became involved.
Mr O’Dwyer said the only reason the defendant wanted to buy the house was because he believed he needed a house for particular family reasons following the break-up of his marriage.
The barrister asked Det Garda O’Reilly if he would be confident that he would never see the accused before the court ever again and he agreed that he would be confident in this regard.
“He left Musgrave’s employment and has taken up employment elsewhere.
Judge Catherine Staines said: “These are extremely serious offences. Mr McClafferty is a professional, intelligent man who was in a position of trust when he carried out these offences – that clearly is the aggravating factor. It certainly was not a spur of the moment offence.”
However, the judge said there were significant mitigating factors in the case also.
Noting that he was deeply embarrassed and ashamed and had repaid all the money stolen, the judge said: “Even though it was extremely serious I don’t think anything would be served by sending him to prison.”
The judge imposed a fully suspended three-year sentence and also directed that he would do 240 hours of community service.