A Paddy Power employee who stole more than €67,000 from the company after he discovered a glitch in their gambling machines has been given a suspended sentence.
Sean Keyes (34) was a compulsive gambler who stole the money from the machines but then immediately gambled it away with Paddy Power again, meaning the company was not at a loss of any money, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard on Tuesday.
Keyes, with an address at All Saints Road, Raheny, Dublin, pleaded guilty to six counts of theft and six counts of producing a false instrument at various Paddy Power stores in Dublin on dates between October 2019 and March 2020. He has no previous convictions.
Detective Garda Ger Hickey told Diana Stuart BL, prosecuting, that a loss prevention manager within Paddy Power was investigating a number of losing bets on gambling machines within the company.
It was discovered that someone within the company was fraudulently adjusting the bets and Keyes was pinpointed as the culprit through a process of elimination.
When questioned, Keyes made full admissions to his employer and then to gardaí. He stole a total of €67,554 over the five-month period, the court heard.
Michael Bowman SC, defending, said Keyes had a gambling addiction which started when he was 14 years old. He had taken out a number of high interest loans and was gambling "compulsively" to try and pay them off.
Keyes did not profit from his gambling and, because he immediately gambled the money he won again with Paddy Power, the company did not lose any money.
Keyes' actions also alerted the company to the fact there was a glitch in their machines and this has now been resolved, Mr Bowman told the court.
The court heard Keyes, a father of three, played soccer to a high level and was a player on a Dublin team. He is heavily involved with his local football club and has a consistent history of employment, the court heard.
Sentencing Keyes, Judge Martin Nolan said stealing from an employer was a serious matter, but this case was "unique" in that the company did not lose any money.
He handed down a two-and-a-half year sentence and suspended it on a number of conditions.