Lawyer jailed for fraud and theft

A former solicitor has been jailed for three-and-a-half years for theft and fraud.

David O'Shea, of Terenure in Dublin, stole over €450,000 from clients' accounts to buy cars, pay off his credit card, use in property deals. pay a horse trainer and to give to others.

He also fraudulently used another €327,000.

The company he worked for, O'Donovan Solicitors, had to close as a result.

O'Shea started stealing in September 2002, four months after he joined the firm as a salaried partner.

He was caught in February 2008.

Fraud detectives discovered that he stole €276,000 from one account alone, the estate of a man who died suddenly without leaving a will.


O'Shea did not explain why he did it, apart from one theft.

He claimed he stole over €80,000 after he was threatened by an Italian man who claimed to be a lawyer and represented convicted drug dealer John Gilligan.

However the judge said he should have reported this to the Gardai and as an officer of the court he would have known this.

O'Shea also admitted giving another €250,000 to one client, which should have been used to pay off that man's mortgage, and paying another client's legal bills of €79,000.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring said this was not a one-off and the 45-year-old does not seem to appreciate the distress caused and the damage done.

The company he worked for subsequently closed, five people lost their jobs and the two solicitors could no longer work because they couldn't get insurance.

She sentenced him to four years in prison but suspended the final six months.