Employee accused of misappropriating thousands from Longford cash and carry business

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Employee accused of misappropriating thousands from Longford cash and carry business

A cash and carry business has secured freezing orders against an employee who it claims may have misappropriated hundreds of thousands of Euro from it for her own use over the last nine years.

McCarrick Brothers (Longford) Ltd have secured a temporary High Court order, known as a Mareva order, against Mrs Una Bratten, preventing her from dissipating or reducing her assets below a value of €750,000. 

Seeking the order Eugene Hill Bl for the company said his client discovered that Mrs Bratten, of Kiltyreher Carriglass Co Longford,  who has worked as a financial controller for the company from 1983 to last May had taken money from the company.

Counsel said that last April she was seen on the company's CCTV camera taking quantities of cash from the company's premises at Athlone Road, Longford. 

The CCTV also showed Items, including cases of wine, beer, tinfoil, tea, cola, toilet rolls and a bottle of gin  being placed into her 2018 Mercedes car. 

After she was questioned about what was seen on the CCTV, she made admissions of having stolen €50,000 over a period of six to eight years.

Counsel said that from its initial investigations it believes that she has taken approximately €326,000 from the company over a period of nine years and converted the monies for her own use.

It is claimed that the defendant who earned €30,000 a year for a 30 hour week, would delete invoices on the company's system demanding payments from the businesses' customers which gave the appearance the firm's books had been balanced.  

It is claimed she would then take quantities of cash,  or lodge cheques paid by customers to the company account and take cash for the same amount for which the cheque was payable. 

Counsel said the defendant had been co-operating with the company.

However, she was asked to give undertakings not to dispose of assets she had a joint interest in, but has failed to do so. 

Counsel said the company has discovered from its investigations that Ms Bratten has a joint interest in at least eight properties located in the Midlands, and the West. 

The company believes that the properties may have been purchased with funds misappropriated from it. 

A solicitor acting for Mrs Bratten had offered an undertaking in regards to assets in her name only but said she was not in a position to give an undertaking where she is a joint owner, counsel said.  

The only asset where she was willing to give an undertaking not to dissipate was land she owns in Co Roscommon which the company said was entirely inadequate. 

The lack of co-operation from Mrs Bratten counsel said has resulted in a fear that assets may be dissipated before the investigation into the full amount of monies allegedly misappropriated is known. 

Mr Hill also told the court that the matter has been referred to the Gardai. 

As well as the the freezing orders the company also wants Mrs Bratten to provide it with a sworn statement listing all of her assets, and any assert she has an indirect legal or beneficial interest in. 

These include lands, properties and bank accounts she has a sole or joint interest in. 

The interim injunction was granted, on an ex parte basis, by Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds on Tuesday. 

The judge made the matter returnable to a date next week.