Grandmother gets 3½ year suspended sentence for pension theft

Geraldine Doyle (63) claimed her partner’s pension for four years after he died

 Geraldine Doyle (63), of the Village, Porterstown, Dublin 15, leaving court on Tuesday. Photograph: Collins Courts

Geraldine Doyle (63), of the Village, Porterstown, Dublin 15, leaving court on Tuesday. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

A woman who claimed her partner’s pension for four years after he died has been given a suspended three-and-a-half year sentence.

Geraldine Doyle (63) was nominated to collect the pension of her partner, who suffered from dementia and Parkinson’s Disease, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard on Tuesday.

However when her partner died in 2012, his death was not registered and Doyle continued to collect his €200 weekly pension for a further four years.

Doyle, with an address in The Village, Porterstown, Dublin 15, pleaded guilty to four sample counts of theft from the Department of Social Protection between October 5th 2012 and July 14th 2016.

She stole a total of €44,652 from the State, Garda Eimhear Keeshan told the court. At the time, Doyle was in receipt of other social welfare payments, including rent allowance, the court heard.

The crime came to light when a worker in the Department of Social Welfare noticed Mr Gunne’s death had not been registered until 2016.

Doyle has no previous convictions.

John Moher BL, defending, said his client suffers from serious stomach issues and has had a number of surgeries in recent years. She spent some time in intensive care recently.

He said Doyle, a mother of three and a grandmother, also suffers from mental health problems and was “overwhelmed with self-loathing” at her offending.

Doyle repaid a sum of €10,000 to the department this week and has agreed to pay €150 a week to pay off the remaining money she owes, the court heard. She has been offered work with her son-in-law to enable this arrangement.

Sentencing Doyle, Judge Martin Nolan said Doyle’s “principal sin was one of omission”. “There was an existing situation and she didn’t put a stop to it,” he said.

He noted this was a white collar crime, that Doyle was remorseful and making good efforts to repay the state.

“It would be unjust to imprison her,” he said, handing down a three-and-a-half year suspended sentence.

Doyle wiped away tears as the sentence was handed down.