Eight months jail for former Credit Union employee from Dungiven who stole £92K

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A former Credit Union employee who stole £92,000 from customers has been jailed for eight months.

Geraldine O’Kane, of Birren Road, Dungiven, pleaded guilty to 14 charges of theft and one charge of fraud.

The offences were committed between February 2013 and April 2015.

At this time the 47-year-old was employed as assistant manager of Dungiven Credit Union.

Derry Crown Court heard on Friday that O’Kane stole a total of £92,000 from accounts which she considered to be dormant.

A full investigation was launched after she confessed the thefts to one of the victims.

The Credit Union has reimbursed all the customers.

Passing sentence, Judge Gordon Kerr QC said this case involved a ‘breach of trust and very serious offending which ordinarily carries with it an immediate custodial sentence’.

He said O’Kane had used her rank to monitor accounts which could be susceptible to theft.

The judge told the court the defendant is entitled to maximum credit because the offences were only investigated because of her admissions.

However, he said an aggravating feature of the case is that credit unions are a ‘public resource in which the public place their trust. Offences such as these must have an effect on that trust’.

A spokesperson from the Irish League of Credit Unions, on behalf of Dungiven Credit Union Limited said: “Dungiven Credit Union welcomes the end of today’s criminal proceedings. Following internal investigations, this became a matter for the courts and criminal justice system to deal with. Today brings the conclusion of this matter, and we wish to reassure our members that their hard-earned savings are fully protected and insured. Dungiven Credit Union would like to take this opportunity to assure our members that the credit union has strict policies and procedures in place to protect members accounts, and will continue to keep members’ needs a priority as we look to the future.”