A man has been arrested over allegedly claiming six €350 Covid-19 unemployment payments that were being paid his bank account every week.
The payments appeared to have been paid to fictitious people. During a search of the man’s property gardaí seized cash and counterfeit currency.
The suspect, who is in his late teens, has been arrested in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, after a search operation there on Thursday.
The investigation was being carried out by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) with assistance from gardaí on secondment at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.
The search was conducted after intelligence about the suspect and the payments being made to him was supplied to the Garda by the Department.
“During the course of the search operation, a sum of cash and counterfeit cash was seized,” gardaí said.
“The man was arrested at the scene and taken to Mullingar Garda Station where he is currently detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act. Investigations are continuing.”
The suspect can be held for questioning for up to 24 hours. His arrest was the latest in a series of investigations into people abusing the Covid-19 payment system.
Two weeks ago when gardaí raided a number of properties in west Dublin targeting an international gang involved in widespread money laundering they found evidence of Covid-19 payment fraud.
On that occasions two houses were searched and at both addresses evidence was found showing six people were claiming Covid-19 employment assistance payments, though they were not entitled to do so.