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Former assistant to U2 bassist sentenced to 7 years for embezzling $3.45 million

By Peter Taggart, for CNN
July 8, 2012 -- Updated 0110 GMT (0910 HKT)
Adam Clayton wasn't in court for the sentencing of his former aide, but he gave evidence for the prosecution.
Adam Clayton wasn't in court for the sentencing of his former aide, but he gave evidence for the prosecution.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Carol Hawkins, 49, was the personal assistant to U2's Adam Clayton
  • "These were crimes rooted in greed and nothing else," the judge says during sentencing
  • "Nothing, frankly, could explain away the scale of this dishonesty," the judge adds
  • Hawkins is convicted of 181 counts of theft from Clayton's bank accounts over four years

Dublin, Ireland (CNN) -- The former personal assistant of Adam Clayton of the Irish rock band U2 was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison for stealing 2.8 million euros (about $3.45 million) of Clayton's money.

Carol Hawkins, 49, was convicted last week of 181 counts of theft from Clayton's bank accounts over a four-year period while she worked for him.

The jury at the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin was told that Hawkins embezzled the money to fund a lavish lifestyle, including luxury holidays, cars, shopping at designer boutiques in New York and buying 22 horses.

In the sentencing, Judge Patrick McCartan said that "these were crimes rooted in greed and nothing else."

"Nothing, frankly, could explain away the scale of this dishonesty other than the greed in pursuit of a lavish lifestyle that was no responsibility of Mr. Clayton's," the judge said.

The judge also ordered that the proceeds of a sale of an apartment in New York bought by Hawkins be handed over to Clayton.

Clayton -- the bass guitarist with U2 -- wasn't in court for sentencing but had given evidence for the prosecution during the case.

Hawkins, who is originally from England but lives in Dublin, has insisted on her innocence.

The court was told that the mother of two had gained the musician's "absolute trust" during the 17 years she worked for him.

However, her deception emerged in 2008 when she confessed to booking herself flights worth almost $19,000 on his account to visit her children in the United States and London.

Jurors were told that Hawkins was a signatory on two of Clayton's bank accounts and wrote 181 checks to deposit into her own accounts.

She was originally employed as a housekeeper for Clayton in 1992 but her duties eventually evolved to include helping to take care of Clayton's accounts.

CNN's Michael Martinez contributed to this report.

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