A university student with a part-time post in a Co Antrim post office fraudulently abused his position of trust on Christmas Eve by selling Euros at a reduced rate to a customer - his mother.
Aaron Wilson (21), of Kings Road, Whitehead, appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday and stood alongside his mum, Brenda Wilson (58), of the same address. She admitted the one charge she faced which involved stealing Euros worth 59.02 on December 24, 2016.
Aaron Wilson admitted two counts of fraud by abuse of position by selling Euros at a reduced rate - once on December 24, 2016 and also on November 26 that year.
A prosecutor said Aaron Wilson’s case involved a “breach of trust” and said the sub-postmaster at Whitehead Post office made a statement to police relating to the theft of money during a shift on December 24.
The defendant carried out a transaction to sell his mother 900 Euros at the “buy back rate”.
The court heard Aaron Wright told police he had contacted his mother during a break and she brought in £766 “in a brown envelope” for the 900 Euro and he handed over the currency which resulted in a loss.
The prosecutor said Brenda Wilson told police the scam happened when “her friends and family needed Euros” and Aaron Wilson admitted to police he had performed similar frauds “a few times”.
A defence lawyer said the two defendants had previously clear records and that Brenda Wilson had previously worked in post offices for 40 years.
He said she had described her conduct as “a moment of madness”.
The lawyer said Aaron Wilson’s other fraud matter involved a small amount.
The legal representative said the mother and son were embarrassed to be in court.
District Judge Peter King said it was a “breach of trust” as far as Aaron Wilson was concerned and it was “premeditated”.
He adjourned sentencing Aaron Wilson until April saying he wanted a pre-sentence report but said he had a “community disposal” in mind.
Addressing Brenda Wilson, the judge said as a now retired former post office employee she would have known the implications of what was happening and she should have stepped in and behaved as a parent to her son instead.
He imposed a two months jail term, suspended for a year, on Brenda Wilson.
The judge added: “There are suspicions there are other matters but I can only deal with what is before me”.