Police welcome sentencing of Matthew Neilly for fraud

Matthew Neilly.
Matthew Neilly.

A Ballyclare florist has been sentenced for fraud offences committed while employed at other businesses across the province.

Detectives have welcomed the sentence handed down to the 26-year-old man at Omagh Crown Court on Thursday, October 3.

Matthew Neilly was sentenced to one year imprisonment suspended for three years after pleading guilty to a number of offences including fraud by abuse of position of trust and theft from a number of businesses in which he was employed.

Commenting on the sentencing, Detective Inspector Pete McKenna said: “The victims in his crimes included a charity and local business outlets in the Cookstown, Belfast and Limavady areas.

“He showed a callous disregard for those he chose to defraud. He took money from hard working business people who chose to earn an honest, decent living. People who put back into their community, who offer employment to local people.

“He also ran a fashion show for a charity and did not submit the funds raised. He decided to swindle people who attended this show who believed the money they gave would be used to help others in their time of most need. He did not care who he hurt or how he appropriated his money.”

Detective Inspector McKenna added: “His offending demonstrated a high degree of planning and preparation in his manipulation of people.

“I hope this sentencing sends out a clear message to anyone who thinks they can get away with this type of crime. We will work tirelessly to bring offenders before the courts so that victims receive the justice they deserve.

“I would ask anyone who believes they are a victim of fraud to contact police on the non-emergency number 101.”

Neilly, with an address in the Lisconnan Road area of Ballymoney, had made a restitution payment of £29,800 before Thursday’s sentencing.

Neilly was presented with the Best New Business accolade at the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council Ballyclare Business Awards in 2018 for his work with Wild About Flowers.