Rental agent stole € 70,000 in tenant deposits to fund gambling addiction, court said

A rental agent stole nearly € 70,000 of tenant deposit from his employer over a two-year period to fund his gambling addiction, a court has heard.

Richard Power (35) regularly logged into his employer’s rental agent system and changed the bank details of tenants who had made down payments at the start of their lease and needed to be repaid, the criminal court said on Tuesday of the Dublin circuit.

Power changed the tenant’s bank details to their own personal bank details in order to receive the deposit refunded, Garda Dabhach Dineen told Diana Stuart BL, prosecuting. He then restored the account details before anyone noticed.

Power, with an address in Tudor Lawns, Foxrock, Dublin, pleaded guilty to one count of theft from his employer, Wyse Property Management Ltd, on dates between June 2018 and June 2020. The amount he has stolen amounts to € 69,530, the court heard. . He has no previous convictions.

Gambling addiction

Garda Dineen said Power had been employed by the company as head of lease negotiations for four years. His duties included visiting and inspecting properties, drafting leases and liaising with tenants. He had 75 to 80 properties in his portfolio.

In May 2020, his supervisor became aware of tenants who were waiting for the deposit to be refunded and who had not been able to contact Power. When the supervisor discovered that no deposits were held for the tenants, an audit was ordered for all of Power’s properties.

A number of anomalies were discovered and Power was called to a meeting. He admitted that he manipulated accounts and stole money from the business to fund a gambling addiction. He said he was taking advice for the addiction.

Shortly thereafter, Power reimbursed his employer € 10,000, the court ruled. He is currently unemployed, lives in a property owned by his parents and is unemployed during a pandemic.

He has since lost his property management license and has been fined € 5,000.

“I just want to tell the truth”

Dean Kelly SC, defending, said Power fully cooperated with gardaí when questioning him about the theft. He told them, “I just want to tell the truth.

Mr Kelly said Power “constantly” played with friends, as is often the case with young men in their twenties and thirties.

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“No sport has been watched, no business has been held without the game playing a role,” said Kelly. Power also accumulated debt while playing card games, the court said.

Mr Kelly said Power’s father, who was in court supporting his son, had pledged to repay the € 59,000 owed to the company, which was covered by an insurance company. Mr Power Snr was not a man of “means” but was able to make that payment, the court said.

Mr Kelly said Power suffered from mental health issues and was continuing his rehabilitation process. He is unlikely to reoffend, the court said.

Judge Elma Sheahan has adjourned the case to February 1, when she will hand down sentencing.

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