Karina Cully, a book-keeper, has been sentenced to two years imprisonment for stealing over €600,000 from her employer, a small office supplies company in Dublin. Cully diverted money from the company to her own bank account over a period of seven years and the total loss to the company was €629,000. The court heard that Cully spent the money on lifestyle expenses and claimed that the thefts had been like a habit or addiction that she couldn’t stop. Cully pleaded guilty to charges of theft, forgery, deception in relation to a mortgage application, and money laundering between 2014 and 2021. She has no previous convictions.
The prosecuting garda told the court that after suspicions were aroused about certain payments, Cully’s employer launched an investigation and she made full admissions to making unauthorised transfers to her personal bank account. In the course of the investigation, it was also discovered that a number of documents related to a mortgage application were forged by Cully. A victim impact statement was handed into the court on behalf of the company but not read aloud.
Cully’s defence counsel argued that she had sent an email to her former employer outlining what she had done and how disgusted she was with herself. Cully admitted in the email that the offending had become a habit or addiction, which, although she knew was morally wrong, she was unable to stop. The defence counsel handed in a number of letters speaking of Cully in positive terms and outlining the fact that she was an exemplary mother, had genuine remorse, and self-loathing. The defence asked the court to be as lenient as possible and take into account Cully’s personal circumstances.
In passing sentence, Judge Martin Nolan noted the mitigation in Cully’s favour, including her early guilty pleas, full admissions, cooperation, and strong work record. However, he also noted that it had been persistent theft from someone she knew well and from a small enterprise where the person she stole from was someone she met every day. He found that it had been a simple but very efficient theft that was always going to be detected at some point. While he acknowledged that Cully was unlikely to reoffend, he sentenced her to two years imprisonment.