Man pleads guilty to €500k old age pension fraud

Pensions claimed for dead parents over a period of more than 30 years

Donal O’Callaghan at Cork Court where he appeared on fraud charges. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Donal O’Callaghan at Cork Court where he appeared on fraud charges. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

 

A 58-year-old man has been remanded on bail for sentencing after he pleaded guilty to stealing in excess of €500,000 over more than 30 years by collecting pension payments for both his dead parents at a post office in Cork city.

Donal O’Callaghan of Churchfield Green, Churchfield in Cork pleaded guilty to 73 charges of theft and forgery in relation to claiming payments in the name of his deceased parents, Donald and Eileen between 1987 and 2019 when he was arraigned at Cork Circuit Criminal Court on Tuesday.

O’Callaghan pleaded guilty to 68 charges of theft and five counts of forgery in relation to his deceased parents with all the theft offences occurring at the Cork GPO on Oliver Plunkett Street and the forgery offence occurring at the Dept of Social Protection on Hanover St in Cork city.

The theft charges state O’Callaghan stole money totalling €527,000 in the form of the joint state pensions of his deceased parents which was the property of the Department of Social Protection or its predecessors, contrary to section 4 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences Act) 2001.

The forgery charges state that O’Callaghan made false written representations when completing eligibility certificates for state pension payments for his deceased parents at the Dept of Social Protection contrary to section 251 (1) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005.

After O’Callaghan was arraigned and affirmed his signed pleas of guilty to all charges that he had entered last month at Cork District Court, defence counsel Ray Boland SC told Judge Helen Boyle he would be seeking a report from a psychologist as his client suffered from a gambling addiction.

Judge Boyle granted Mr Boland the application and indicated that he should obtain a psychological report on his client and she remanded O’Callaghan on continuing bail to appear again at Cork Circuit Criminal Court on November 26th for sentence.