Man defrauded Grand Opera House out of £20,000

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A Co Antrim man has admitted defrauding the Grand Opera House out of £20,000 over a five-year period.

Eamonn McColgan (38), of Old Shore Court in Carrickergus, appeared at Belfast Crown Court on Wednesday for a short arraignment hearing.

He pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud by abuse of his position at the Opera House based on Belfast’s Great Victoria Street.

The charge stated that between February 1, 2013 and February 28, 2018, “whilst occupying a position in which you were expected to safeguard the financial interests of the Grand Opera House dishonestly abused that position in that you issued refunds to yourself thereby transferring credit from the Grand Opera House to your own accounts in the total sum of £20,602.23’’.

It added that he intened to “make a gain for himself or another or to cause loss to the Grand Opera House or to expose it to a risk of a loss’’.

Defence barrister Martin Morgan told Judge Stephen Fowler QC that McColgan had “no previous convictions’’ and asked for a pre-sentence report to be prepared by the Probation Service.

He added that the defence would also be seeking a pyschiatric report for the sentecing hearing which would require access to McColgan’s GP notes and medical records.

Judge Fowler said he would review the case next week when he expected to be updated on progress on the appointment with a psychiatrist.

Releasing McColgan on continuing bail, the judge said that was not to be taken as an indication of the sentence he would ultimately pass.