Suspended sentence for shop assistant who stole at least €19,000 in lottery tickets from employer

A Killarney shop assistant who stole at least €19,000 worth of lotto tickets from her employer has received a suspended prison sentence.

Tara Egan of 37 Arbutus Grove, Killarney, pleaded guilty to 17 sample charges of theft, the property of Billy Doyle, at Doyle’s Topshop, Muckross Road, between August 20, 2011 and August 2014.

The 28-year-old mother of three had worked for Mr Doyle for eight years.

Tara Egan had become addicted to playing Lotto 5-4-3-2-1 but it was impossible to quantify exactly how much she had stolen, Tralee Circuit Criminal Court heard.

This was conservatively estimated at €19,000 at least.

The court heard the accused was in a relationship with Mr Doyle’s son and they had a daughter but this ended in 2014.

Her former partner discovered the used lottery tickets, which she had been issuing to herself but not paying for.

The court heard Mr Doyle Snr suffered substantial financial losses that had a detrimental effect on his business that subsequently closed.

Judge Tom O’Donnell noted the chances of restitution were effectively nil.

He said the accused had abused her position as a trusted employee and member of the Doyle family.

In mitigation, the court heard she had expressed genuine remorse for her actions and addressed her gambling addiction issues.

He imposed a sentence of two years and five months but suspended this on condition she remain bound to the peace for that period.