A Lurgan woman who took over £2,000 from her sister’s Credit Union account has been ordered to complete 240 hours of community service.
Sentencing the 27-year-old, the district judge said: “I bear in mind the plea, but this was a very mean offence. I mean who would ever steal from their brother or sister an amount such as that?”
Lena Mitchell, of Carrickvale Avenue, appeared for sentencing on nine counts of fraud by false representation at Craigavon Magistrates’, sitting at Lisburn, on Friday via videolink from her solicitor’s office.
Prosecution outlined that on February 14, police received a report from the Credit Union regarding suspicious activity relating to an account.
It was reported that a total of £2,200 had been withdrawn from this account in two weeks, through seven separate transactions.
On February 13, a female attempted to make another withdrawal but was challenged and asked for documentation.
It was later established that the withdrawals had been made by the sister of the account holder, the defendant.
On May 11, police interviewed Mitchell with her making full and frank admissions.
Defence barrister John McCann stated: “This all occurred over a two week period at the end of January with a number of withdrawals from her older sister’s account.
“This was a very difficult time for her personally. She was in a relationship with a man who was not really very good to her. That’s putting it mildly.”
He continued: “She only escaped him in September, when he turned violent towards her and a non-molestation order has been put in place. She is now residing in a women’s refuge due to ongoing threats of violence.
“She was in a complete tailspin. He had convinced her to take the money from the Credit Union to pay off debts and she thought it would have been paid back before long.”
Mr McCann added: “She has been left to pick up the pieces. Initially her parents and her sister were aghast but she has shown remorse and has begun rebuilding her relationship with her sister.
“She is trying her best to get her life back on track.”
District Judge Rosie Watters stated: “I bear in mind the plea, but this was a very mean offence. I mean who would ever steal from their brother or sister an amount such as that?”
Mitchell was ordered to pay compensation of £2,200 and to complete 240 hours of community service.