An accountant who defrauded more than £4,000 from a recruitment company was yesterday ordered to complete 60 hours of community service.
Sentencing 36-year-old Darien McKeown at Newtownards Magistrates Court, District Judge Mark Hamill told the father-of-five the only reason he was not imposing a jail sentence "is on the basis that the money is paid back within 48 hours".
Having heard the money is ready to be transferred, Judge Hamill Warner that if the £4,037 was not handed over "I will look at this again".
McKeown, from Croft Hill in Belfast, had earlier pleaded guilty to a single count of fraud by false representation, committed between December 10, 2017 and January 9, 2018.
A prosecuting lawyer told the court that through a recruitment firm McKeown had been working for Radius Housing and to get paid he had to submit weekly time sheets that were signed off by his line manager.
In January 2018, it transpired that McKeown had been paid £4,037 even though he had stopped working the previous month.
Investigations revealed that McKeown had been submitting fraudulent time sheets, the lawyer said.
Describing the offences as "having no sophistication", McKeown's defence solicitor conceded the fraud was "always going to be discovered", adding that the accountant had made "very significant efforts to raise full restitution".