Man pleads guilty to stealing from AIB Mullingar

A man remains in custody after he pleaded guilty to a number of fraud offences at the AIB in Mullingar.

Radek Kona, who has a number of addresses, including one at Friar’s Court, Mullingar, presented false cheques worth €21,194.08 and withdrew €15,007.83 based on those cheques.

Judge Tony Hunt at Mullingar Circuit Court said that because the Irish people effectively own AIB, Kona had stolen from the people of Ireland and the money must be repaid.

The cheques were copies of original cheques with some of the details amended.

Garda Vincent Reynolds said AIB staff contacted gardaí on March 19 last year after they recognised Kona as someone who had previously lodged false cheques.

On March 11 and March 14 he had lodged more than €10,000 using a card at an ATM, and later withdrew the full amount of the first cheque - almost €7,000 - and half of the second cheque.

Two cheques he’d lodged in November 2012 had also been the subject of controversy.

One was withdrawn and one was stopped when it emerged that it was fraudulent.

On arrest, Kona showed what Garda Reynolds believed was a false Czech driver’s licence, which Kona later admitted he’d bought.

Kona also admitted opening the account under a false name using documentation he’d purchased from someone named Michael whom gardaí were unable to trace.

The court heard he had to hand over the card and the withdrawn money to a third party, and that he only got €50 for himself out of one transaction and €600 from another but had been promised 20 per cent of the funds from the most recent, failed transaction.

Kona has lived in Ireland for a long time and has 26 previous convictions, 21 of which are for road traffic offences and three of which are for deception, including insurance fraud.

He has been in custody since March of this year after he told a High Court judge he couldn’t be trusted to stay in the country if given bail, his counsel Gerard Groarke said.

Judge Hunt described him as “clearly a person who engages in dishonest practices” and asked when he can make amends.

“The taxpayer is out €15,000 and it will cost the hard-pressed tax payer more money to keep him in a certain place [prison]. My preference is to get the money back and for him to make recompense to the community in ways that are less expensive,” he said.

“In the absence of €15,000 he’s going to jail,” he said, adding that Kona hadn’t been forthcoming with gardaí about what he’d been doing.

“If on mature reflection he considers he’d like to tell you, that’s grand too,” he said.

He remanded Kona in custody to October 9 to consider his position.

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