Stole over £14,000 from town bookies

An employee of a Lurgan bookmaker’s changed losing bets into winning ones to steal over £14,000, Craigavon Court heard last Friday.

Thirty two year old Thomas McNally, of Parknasilla Way, Aghagallon, admitted a series of fraudulent offences while working at Central Bookmakers in Lurgan.

A prosecution barrister told Friday’s court that on August 30 McNally pleaded guilty, on arraignment, to ten specimen charges which took place in June and July of 2008.

He explained that on July 23, 2008, Mr Owens, the Central owner, contacted police about an internal fraud. A security consultant from Dublin had been called in and uncovered fraud amounting to £14,420.

McNally admitted turning losing bets into winning bets.

Full restitution of the money involved had been made.

A barrister for McNally said that a pre-sentence report on the defendant indicated his embarrassment, remorse and the effects on his family.

He explained that the theft started when a new system came into operation in 2006.

The defendant had made full restitution with help from his father and this will be an outstanding debt to his father which he will have to pay in the future.

McNally did not seek to deny his offending or put the blame on any of the other employees.

The lawyer said McNally had been unemployed for two years after he lost his job but three years ago found employment with a transport haulage business and was in a position of trust.

He handed in a reference from the owner of the company.

Judge Patrick Lynch said the courts took a serious view of breach of trust cases.

But, he added, McNally had pleaded guilty from the outset and he accepted he had made a genuine expression of remorse.

He also took into account that the defendant had new employment, his employer was aware of the proceedings and full restitution had been paid.

Judge Lynch sentenced McNally to 15 months in prison but suspended the sentence for three years.