Man (35) to be sentenced for €44,000 social welfare fraud
Edward McDonagh pleaded guilty to 15 charges of theft between 2009 and 2011
Edward McDonagh pleaded guilty to 15 sample charges of property. Photograph: Frank Miller /The Irish Times
A Dublin father of six who used two false names to steal over €44,000 through social welfare fraud has been remanded on bail pending sentence.
Edward McDonagh (35), of Kishogue Park, Lucan, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 15 sample charges of theft of property of the Health Service Executive and Department of Social Welfare, on dates between August 2009 and April 2011. He has three previous convictions.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring adjourned sentencing to next December, having taken into accounts efforts McDonagh had made, “albeit at a low level”, to repay the money he had fraudulently claimed.
She ordered a report from the Probation Service for that date to determine whether McDonagh is suitable for community service.
Det Garda Gareth Daly told Colm O’Briain, prosecuting, that McDonagh made false claims under the name Matthew Patterson from July 2nd, 2009, to March 3rd, 2011, totalling €22,193. He also falsely claimed money under the name John Paul Ward between August 25th, 2009, and March 8th, 2011, totalling €21,789.
McDonagh was also legitimately claiming disability allowance at the same time. He used the same photograph on his identification cards to collect all the payments.
The special investigation units of the Department of Social Protection began to query the payments made to John Paul Ward and noted they had “similar features” to those being collected by Matthew Patterson.
Garda Daly said further analysis showed both claims had “common identifiers” with McDonagh’s legitimate claims.
Gardaí monitored the various post offices the payments were being collected from and noted McDonagh was presenting himself for each benefit. He was arrested at his home in April 2011 and made full admissions in a subsequent interview.
Garda Daly accepted McDonagh is paying back the money through cuts in his welfare payment but counsel confirmed it will take at least three decades before it is re-imbursed.