A Kildare youth worker who stole €40,000 from his employers over a six year period has been spared jail because he “helped gardai investigate himself.”
After James Brady (56) was caught, he repaid the full amount despite the available evidence only supporting the theft of around €15,000.
Brady worked for Youthreach, a State-funded educational and training programme for early school leavers which is run by the Dublin Vocational Education Committee. Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard the thefts involved him using the Youthreach account to pay for household groceries over the years.
Brady of Abbey Park View, Dublin Road, Clane pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 17 sample counts of theft from Youthreach at Esker Hill, Lucan between June 2004 and February 2011. He was originally charged with 65 counts.
Defence counsel John Fitzgerald BL said it was an “exceptional and highly unusual case” because of the level of assistance Brady gave gardai.
Counsel said Brady “helped gardai investigate himself” and “created the case against himself”. He added that it would otherwise have been a long and difficult investigation which may never have reached the courts.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring imposed a three year suspended term and said that what sets Brady apart from similar offenders is the level of cooperation he showed which saved the authorities time and effort.
She noted: “Financial crisis has brought an increase in the number of cases coming before us of people with no previous convictions, unlikely to offend again, who had been considered pillars of the community, but who committed theft.”
He was in effect leading a double life, a man of probity and value in his workplace, but also a thief.”
She added: “To be stealing from such an organisation is shocking and disappointing. I am sure they need all the money they can get.”
Detective Garda Padraig Jennings told prosecuting counsel James Dwyer BL that Brady was a co-ordinator with Youthreach for 22 years.
In 2004 he began to use company accounts to pay for shopping in Superquinn, Centra and Musgraves. He also took money from petty cash by making up false invoices for a non-existent shop.
He claimed that after the first theft it became a habit and that he intended to repay his employers. He said he was under financial pressure as his wife was ill and his children were in college.
The thefts came to light after his employers received an anonymous tip-off prompting an enquiry. Brady made full admissions and volunteered to help the gardai with the investigation. He told them his records show that he stole €40,100.
His daughter borrowed €25,000 and gave it to Brady while his parents-in-law, who are in their eighties, gave him €15,000. This money has since been handed over to the State.