Teen jailed for 4 years after decimal point error payed him 100 times his salary

  • By Hera Al-Kazelbashi

A teen has been sentenced to 4 years in prison by Dublin Criminal Court following salary error


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Karl Smith of Dublin, Ireland had “an incredible temptation presented to him” just two days after his 19th birhtday the court heard.

Smith, 19, of Dublin, Ireland was owed 196.36 EURO but following an admin error was instead payed 19’636 EURO.

As in most countries in the world it is the law that if you are overpaid for what ever reason the money is in fact NOT yours, and must be repaid as soon as is practicable.

Smith however, went on a spending spree.

The Dublin Criminal Court found Smith guilty of THEFT from his former employer after he omitted to report the error. Smith spent the money on drugs, socialising and on teen-luxuries such as a Playstation 4.

Smith withdrew most of the money as cash over three separate transactions before spending the remainder via his bank card.

Smith, a known drug user was already in a 1’000 EURO drug debt at the time of the miss-payment.

The money lasted Smith less than three weeks.

Smith argued that he thought the money was a banking error and had not come from his former boss’s pocket. A fact that makes no difference to the law and the criminal charge of theft.

Although criminal records are wiped clean at 18, at 19, Smith already had 17 previous convictions for theft, assault, making threats and criminal damage.

Judge Melanie Greally sentenced Smith to four years in custody, with 2 years to be served as a minimum term and the final two years to be served as a suspended sentence.

Whilst in juvenile until the age of 21, Smith will have his sentence extended if he commits further acts of violence, uses drugs or makes threats. Should his sentence be increased Smith would be transferred to an adult jail at 21.

The wife of Smith’s former boss had told the police that she realised the accounting mistake she had made one week later. The couple had made multiple efforts to contact Smith to return the money, they had telephoned Smith and paid for their solicitor to write to Smith and to Smith’s bank. After receiving no response the couple finally reported the incident as theft to the police. The money made a notable impact to the small family business.

Smith was arrested in Cloverhill Prison in June 2016 where he was already serving a sentence for assault, during police interview Smith declined to comment to all questions.

None of the money has been recovered and Smith has not been ordered to make any repayments. It was deemed that the client’s current incarceration and addiction to cocaine would mean earning money to repay the victims would not be possible, leaving the only suitable sentence as a custodial term.


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H.Kazelbashi@theinternational.org.uk

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