A Letterkenny woman who committed deception by passing cheques in businesses around the town has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Patricia Gallagher of 2 Orchard Court, High Road, Letterkenny, pleaded guilty to ten counts of deception by passing cheques over a 13-day period in July 2008.
The amounts gained by deception varied between €19.50 and €433. Gallagher, a mother of four, had been brought to court after being arrested on A European arrest warrant in Scotland. The court heard that she has been living in Strathclyde.
The offences were carried out at Tesco Ireland on July 12th, Pearse Road Tyres on July 7th, Surprise Surprise on July 11th, O’Donnell’s Pharmacy on July 11th, Charles Kelly Ltd on July 11th, Keys Petrol Station in Tullygay on July 4th, Black’s Centra on July 12th, Kernan’s Eurospar on July 4th, and Dunnes Stores on July 12th.
Solicitor for Gallagher, Niall Sheridan, said the death of her partner in 2007 had a terrible effect on her life and she suffered unbearable stress and financial hardship. After her arrest her younger children were taken into care.
He said the offences had been caused by a very sad situation and as a result she has lost the care of her younger children, aged 9 and 14.
He said Gallagher was not helped by the behaviour of her adult son who had made promises to help the family but failed.
He said the impact of everything resulted in concerns about the risk of self harm. Gallagher has had terrible health problems and her health has deteriorated, he said. The court heard the only previous convictions she had was for road traffic offences. Judge Paul Kelly said the circumstances of the case were tragic but he that did not justify her resorting to the offences. He said the offences were old and Gallagher had, all be it late in the day, co-operated with the authorities.
The judge said a custodial sentence would be valid considering the extent of the offences.
Judge Kelly handed down two suspended sentences totalling eight months which were suspended on her own bond of 250 euro for a period of two years.