Woman who defrauded company of €87,000 set up a café and was paying her staff in cash
• 5h ago
A woman who defrauded her company of about €87,000 over seven years has been jailed for one year.
Carolyn Riguad (63) pleaded guilty to sample counts of theft and producing a false instrument in an indictment of 270 counts spanning seven years between 2009 and 2016, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard. She has no previous convictions.
Riguad, of Collier Court, Callan, Co Kilkenny, was running the Irish arm of a UK company when she diverted funds from the business into her own accounts, the court heard.
It remains unclear what she spent the money on, but at one point she set up her own cafe in Kilkenny and was paying staff in cash, Sergeant Niall Murray told Paul Greene SC, prosecuting.
Between November 2009 and February 2016, Riguad stole a total of €87,000 by altering cheques from the company which provided business services, the court heard.
The fraud was only discovered when she went on sick leave in 2016, the court heard, leading Judge Martin Nolan to comment: “The church collector can never go on holidays.”
When the company started investigating, a total of 258 cheques with discrepancies were uncovered. At one point, Riguad was attempting to cover her tracks by rediverting funds within the company, the court heard.
When interviewed by gardaí, Riguad denied having anything to do with the theft and said it must have been one of her colleagues.
The court heard she has a number of medical difficulties and told gardaí she has memory issues.
She entered guilty pleas shortly before she was due to stand trial.
Sgt Murray said Riguad was “very competent, very capable and knew her job”.
He said she had worked closely with her colleagues in the Isle of Man in the 1990s before running the Irish arm of the business and it was a significant breach of trust as far as her employers were concerned.
The company has revised its procedures as a result of the theft. “Trust in the company is at an all-time low,” Sgt Murray said.
Vincent Heneghan SC, defending, said his client had an adult son who lives with her and has a medical condition. He said she also has nine cats that she cares for. She is currently in arrears in her mortgage on her home.
When asked by Judge Nolan what Riguad did with the money, Mr Heneghan said he had “no real answer for the court”.
“It’s clearly a big question the court would be interested in,” he said. “Ms Riguad has memory loss. We can’t get to the bottom of that.”
Judge Nolan said he had no doubt Riguad was very competent and that she “committed this fraud with a certain amount of cold blood”.
He said the court does not know what Riguad spent the money on, “but we know with certainty that she stole”. He noted she was in a position of trust.
The judge said if Rigaud had been in good health, he would have jailed her for five years. He noted she has a number of medical conditions and is on a lot of medication. He handed down a sentence of one year to start from today.