Woman who spent accidental payment of €24k sentenced to community service

Over €50,000 was accidentally transferred into Margaret McDonnell’s bank account

A young Dublin mother has been ordered to do community service for going on a “massive spending spree” with money accidentally put in her account.

Margaret McDonnell of Rathvilly Park in Finglas spent over €24,000 in shops and restaurants before she was eventually caught.

At the beginning of March 2013, over €50,000 was accidentally transferred into Margaret McDonnell’s bank account.

For the two weeks that followed, she ate out every night and spent thousands in shops like Dunnes Stores, Lifestyle Sports, Shoe Rack and New Look.

She bought gifts including two crystal vases and a “crystal mushroom lamp” and also spent money on clothes and shoes for her two children.

Bank of Ireland wrote to her a few weeks later and asked her to return it. She had withdrawn almost half of it at that stage.

She later told Gardaí she “just went on a high”. She said “any young girl on social welfare would have done the same”.

Judge Cormac Quinn said it was clear the money wasn’t hers, and told her if something in life is “too good to be true, it usually is”.

He imposed 150 hours community service in lieu of an 18 month prison sentence and ordered her to pay back €1,000.