An Ennis woman has appeared in court charged with stealing €170,830 from 11 people over a five year period when she was acting as a solicitor for the parties.
In the case, Michelle O’Keeffe (55) of Fionn Oir, Lahinch Rd, Ennis appeared at Ennis District Court in relation to the 19 separate acts of alleged theft between January 2006 and December 22nd 2011.
Ms O’Keeffe is also charged with on dates between January 24th 2006 and December 22nd 2011 that she failed without reasonable cause to maintain accounting records as prescribed by the Solicitors Account Regulations 2001 contrary to Section 86 of the Solicitors Act 1954.
The 19 separate theft charges outlined the amounts alleged stolen from each of the alleged injured parties.
In the case, Ms O’Keeffe is alleged to have stolen €46,500 from Martin Hanley; €35,413 from Michael Cahir; €20,580 from Terence Kelly; €15,000 from Mark Scully; €22,500 from Donal Kelleher; €12,252 from James and Claire Feighery; €3,000 from Gráinne Travers; €6,590 from Billy Hamill and €8,995 from a second couple.
In court on Wednesday, Insp David Finnerty told the court that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has stated that the case can go forward on indictment to the circuit court.
In the circuit court a person found guilty of theft is liable to a prison term of up to 10 years in prison.
Judge Patrick Durcan extended time for the State to produce a Book of Evidence in the case and Judge Durcan remanded Ms O’Keeffe on bail to re-appear before court on January 16th next for the production of the Book of Evidence.
Ms O’Keeffe will then be sent forward for trial to Ennis Circuit Court.