Woman who attempted insurance fraud with her brother avoids a jail term
Posted on 26th October 2021 at 20:24
Pair had falsely claimed elderly driver had hit their car causing damage and injuries
A woman who attempted a fraud with her brother by falsely claiming that an elderly motorist reversed into their vehicle has received a fully suspended sentence.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Suzanne Maguire (37) claimed she had spilled hot coffee over herself as a result of the fictitious impact and Edward Maguire (46) later attempted to lodge a claim with an insurance company, despite not being in the car at the time.
The alleged road traffic accident happened in a car park outside a convenience store on Glasnevin Avenue, in Dublin.
Suzanne Maguire, of Sillogue, Ballymun, and Edward Maguire of Cabra Park, Dublin 7, both pleaded guilty to attempting to induce Axa Insurance to pay out on the foot of a false claim with the intention of making a gain for themselves or causing a loss to another on September 22nd, 2017.
Suzanne Maguire has 59 previous convictions, including 33 for theft and others for public order, deception, handling, obstruction, failing to appear and assaults.
Edward Maguire has 24 previous convictions including breach of a barring order, road traffic, larceny, trespass, theft and threats to kill.
At a previous sentencing hearing in April 2021, Judge Pauline Codd sentenced Edward Maguire to two years imprisonment, which she suspended in full on strict conditions including that he engage with the Probation Service for two years.
Passing sentence on Tuesday, Judge Codd said it was “quite clear” Suzanne Maguire instigated the offending conduct and that her brother went along with it.
Judge Codd said the most significant aggravating factor was that the target of this offence was an elderly person. She said she accepted it was an opportunistic offence, but said it was “a nasty offence”.
She said the accused woman has taken “very significant steps” to address her addiction and to come off drugs. She noted the accused is currently pregnant.
Judge Codd sentenced Suzanne Maguire to three years imprisonment, but suspended the sentence in its entirety on strict conditions, including that she follow all directions of the Probation Service for two years.
At a previous sentencing hearing, Garda Sean Burke told Antonia Boyle BL, prosecuting, that Suzanne Maguire was sitting in her brother’s car when an elderly man hit a plastic bollard while he was reversing his vehicle out of a parking space.
Gda Burke said Maguire got out of the car and approached the driver claiming that he had hit her brother’s vehicle and caused damage. She also claimed that she spilled hot coffee over herself as a result of the impact and took a photograph of the man’s car and his insurance disc.
Edward Maguire later followed through on the allegation by attempting to lodge a claim with Axa Insurance. He also claimed that he was in the vehicle at the time and had pain in his shoulder, while his sister had blisters on her leg from the coffee having been spilled.
The insurance company investigated the claim and secured CCTV footage proving that there was no impact between the cars and that Edward Maguire was not in the vehicle at the time.
Axa did not process the claim, gardaí were alerted and the two were arrested.
Rebecca Smith BL, defending Suzanne Maguire, said her client, a mother-of-four, grew up in a “chaotic background” which had a traumatic effect on her.
Ms Smith said her client was taken out of the house at a young age to live with her older sister, but moved back into the family home as a 12-year-old girl when her father left.
Counsel said her client had a very bad drug addiction, but she has since tackled many of her issues and has stopped abusing cocaine and heroin. “She still has trouble with cannabis,” Ms Smith said.
“This is the best she has come in her whole life in terms of addressing her addiction,” counsel submitted, before she added that her client has not come to garda attention since the offence.
“She has indicated that she would like to prove to the court that she has changed. Her priority is her drug addiction, her children and leaving her criminality behind,” Ms Smith said.
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