Tuesday February 4,2014 : 74-YEAR-OLD POKER FAN JAILED FOR FRAUD
Former Irish school teacher cheated employer out of Euro 135,000.
A 74-year-old former Irish school teacher with a persistent penchant for online poker found himself in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court this week charged with defrauding his restaurateur employer of Euro 135,000.
The Irish Times reports that John Carlos was employed as a part-time accountant by the restaurant, and pleaded guilty to forging signatures on cheques, altering amounts on cheques and stealing money from his employer, Eddie Rockets franchise owner Peter Fortune, between 2005 and 2008.
The court heard that Carlos had been a highly-respected retired teacher and accountant in Bray, Co Wicklow, until he became a “hopeless and deeply addicted gambler”, ruining his family life and reputation.
Restaurateur Fortune hired Carlos, whom he had known for over 30 years, as an accountant in 1999.
In September 2008, Fortune got a letter from Revenue seeking a tax audit. He realised something was wrong and asked Carlos if he was a qualified auditor. He replied that he was not and he was let go from his position.
Fortune brought in hired external auditors who discovered that a large amount of suspicious cheques had been signed between 2005 and 2008. Fortune said some of the signatures purporting to be his were not genuine, while other signatures were his, but the amount on the cheque had been altered.
Carlos’s bank account showed numerous amounts going to the Paddy Power online poker website, the court heard.
In April 2011, Carlos called in voluntarily to a Garda (police) station and admitted defrauding his employer via dozens of cheques, totalling Euro 135,000. He told gardaí that he had lost about Euro 150,000 gambling and had run into considerable debt. He said what he had done was appalling but that he could not afford to repay the money.
The court heard that Carlos has a pension of about Euro 220 a week, Euro 150 of which he gives to his wife. He lives on the remaining Euro 70. He is now separated from his wife.
Presiding Judge Mary Ellen Ring expressed concern that Carlos had only done “limited work” to address his addiction, even though she said he was unlikely to reoffend because of his practical circumstances. She ordered a probation report and remanded him on bail for sentencing on June 5th.