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Portadown woman who denies £220k nursery fraud to stand trial

Craigavon Magistrates Court

A Portadown woman is to stand trial next year after she denied abusing positions of trust with three different employers and defrauding more than £200,000.

Standing in the dock of Craigavon Crown Court on Tuesday, alongside her solicitor Owen Beattie, 45-year-old Lisa Marie McGuckin entered not-guilty pleas to each of the three offences of committing fraud by abuse of position over a time span between September 2011 and July 2019.

The charges allege that McGuckin, from Rose Cottages in Portadown, defrauded £220,861 from employer Cots & Tots Ltd (a childcare centre in Craigavon) by transferring the cash from its account to her own; defrauded the Drumcree Community Trust by transferring £1,918 from its account to her own; abused her position at Orchard Services Ltd by sending a memorandum to Companies House naming herself as a director of the company when she was not, intending to make a gain for herself.

None of the alleged facts giving rise to the charges were opened in court today and, following the brief arraignment, defence counsel Jonathan Browne confirmed the defence statement was ready to be lodged.

He also confirmed that “there are significant discussions ongoing” as each side prepare for the trial, which Judge Patrick Lynch KC scheduled for January 15 next year.

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