Woman who stole over â¬ 20,000 from her corporate social club and corporate credit card and spent the money on luxury vacations and shopping trips has been sentenced to six months in prison .
Nicola Henry (32) was the secretary of the Johnson & Johnson social club when she wrote herself 37 checks, forging the signatures of her colleagues.
She received a total of â¬ 17,326 out of 27 of those vouchers, which she spent on luxury vacations in Australia, Sri Lanka and Dubai, as well as restaurants, shopping and beauty treatments, a learned the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. The other 10 checks were bounced because there was not enough money in the account.
Henry, office manager of the Tallaght-based company, was suspended when the thefts came to light. She then spent an additional â¬ 3,233 using the company’s credit card, Detective Garda Kevin Bowen told court.
After being charged, Henry “buried his head in the sand” and missed several court appearances, leading to the issuance of arrest warrants against her, defense attorney said . She was arrested in November last year and taken into police custody.
Sentencing her today, Judge Pauline Codd said she had accepted that Henry’s thefts were a result of her persistent depression and that it was a “method of escape to cope with it”. She took into account a psychological report which found that Henry had a low risk of recurrence and would benefit from therapy.
The judge handed down a two-year sentence but suspended the last 18 months under a number of conditions. She backdated him last November when Henry was taken into custody.
Henry, of Carrownegh, Kiltoom, Co Roscommon, pleaded guilty to three counts of theft and two counts of attempted theft from the social club and the Johnson & Johnson company between April 2014 and September 2015. She also pleaded guilty to two heads of manufacture of a false instrument. between these dates.
65 other charges were considered. Henry has no previous convictions.
Detective Gda Bowen told Prosecutor Gerardine Small BL that Henry joined the company in 2011 as an assistant accountant and then held several different positions within the company, including office manager. She joined the company’s social club in 2012 and became club secretary.
The court heard employee members of the social club make a monthly contribution from their wages for social gatherings, with the company also regularly adding funds.
Even though Henry was on the club committee and had a checkbook, she was not allowed to sign checks on behalf of the club. As a result, she forged the signatures of two of her colleagues who were authorized to do so and cashed checks which she wrote in her name.
Ten of the 37 checks – valued at â¬ 35,340 – were bounced because there was not enough money in the account. Henry’s violation came to light when the bank contacted the company’s supervisor about the bad checks in August 2015.
She was immediately suspended and her business credit card was blocked. However, the company noticed in November of the same year that more money had been spent with the blocked card.
It emerged that the bank contacted Henry about the blocking of the card and allowed them to unlock it before continuing to spend the company’s money, the court heard.
Detective Gda Bowen said Henry did not spend any money on “daily expenses”. âThey were all luxury items,â he said.
In addition to the holidays, the court heard that Henry had spent money on restaurants, hairdressers, nail care and a shopping spree in Northern Ireland.
Defense attorney Kieran Kelly BL said his client had a normal upbringing, a good education and came from a good family. The court heard his mother fell ill with cancer as a teenager and Henry took on a caregiving role at home. She suffered from depression following the death of her mother in 2008.
A woman from Roscommon flew from the company’s social club to …
Mr Kelly said his client, who was crying during the sentencing hearing, was extremely remorseful for her actions.
He said she had taken on a number of accounting roles since the incident, but was fired when her breach in Johnson & Johnson came to light. She couldn’t pay back the money she stole, he said.
Mr Kelly said his client was a “very private person”.
“She’s buried her head in the sand a lot in relation to this matter,” he said. “He is a person who should act on the advice given to him.”