Lochside Garage

Fraudster told to pay back £4,000 in dud cheques

A LISBELLAW man who used cheques he knew couldn’t be cashed to buy over £4,000 in goods from local businesses has been told he will avoid a prison sentence if he pays the money back.
David Curry (33) of Old Mill Court, Lisbellaw appeared at remote sitting of Enniskillen Magistrates Court on Monday for sentencing on a total of nine counts of fraud by false representation, which he had pleaded guilty to.
A pre-sentence report from Probation Services had previously be ordered by the court due to the seriousness of the charges.
Curry had used cheques that subsequently bounced on several occasions between May and July 2019 to pay for items at four different local businesses.
In total, Curry used the fraudulent cheques three times at Norman Harpur Ltd, where he bought items with a total value of £1,405, three times at T Dowler Ltd, where he bought items valued at £1,076, twice at Maurice Allen’s where bought items worth £1,080, and once at Cathcart Power Equipment, where he bought £785 of items.
The court heard on Monday that, after discovering the cheques had bounced, the businesses involved either got in touch with Curry to set up a debt plans, which he failed to pay, or made unsuccessful efforts to get in touch with the defendant before reporting the offences to police.
When interviewed by police Curry said he believed he had enough money in his account to cover the value of the cheques. When police obtained his bank records they revealed at no point did he have enough in the account to cover the costs.
District Judge Steven Keown said Curry “had given the police the run-around” by forcing them to get his bank statements, and noted that in his pre-sentence report Curry had consented to community service but had said he didn’t think it was needed as his offending had been “impulsive.” However, he noted Curry’s offences occurred on different occasions over several weeks.
Defence solicitor Dara Montague said Curry “wasn’t in a good place” at the time of the offences. She said while the defendant was in receipt of Employment Support Allowance (ESA), he was seeking help from family in paying back the money he owed to the businesses.
Ms Montague said Curry had previously agreed a payment plan with Dowler’s, which had since been taken over, and had agreed to work off his debt if possible.
Judge Keown adjourned sentencing for six months, until April 12 next year, telling Curry that if he paid back all or most of the money by then he will avoid a custodial sentence.

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