Man claimed €36,000 while working under brother’s name,

Marek Kroscen collected job seekers allowance while employed at a factory in Cork

A man  collected more than €36,000 in job seekers allowance while he was working under his brother’s name. Photograph: The Irish Times

A man collected more than €36,000 in job seekers allowance while he was working under his brother’s name. Photograph: The Irish Times

 

A man who collected more than €36,000 in job seekers’ allowance while working under his brother’s name has been given a suspended jail term and ordered to do community service.

Czech national Marek Kroscen (28), of Kylmore House, Rushbrooke Manor, Cobh, Co Cork pleaded guilty to 21 counts of theft from the Dept of Social Welfare during various periods between January 2009 and June 2015.

Det Garda Kevin Heffernan on secondment to the Department of Social Protection told Cork Circuit Criminal Court the matter came to light when the department received an anonymous phonecall in 2015.

The caller informed officials that a man was working at a factory in Glounthaune in Co Cork using his brother’s name while at the same time claiming Jobseekers Allowance under his own name.

An official from the Department of Social Protection visited the company and met with Kroscen who showed her a Czech ID card in the name of his brother but the photo and name did not match.

Det Garda Heffernan said that he met Kroscen on June 15th, 2015 and he admitted that he had been working under his brother’s name while collecting jobseeker’s allowance under his own name.

He used to call once a week to Cobh Post Office and collect the Jobseekers allowance over three periods - January to June 2009, February2010 to October 2013 and November 2013 to June 2015.

The periods when he had not claimed jobseekers allowance were when he had returned to the Czech Republic and the total amount of money he defrauded amounted to some€36,895.

Det Garda Heffernan said Kroscen came to Ireland with his family in his early teens and his brother whose identity card he had used while working here had returned to the Czech Republic.

The company were completely unaware of his false identity and thought he was his brother but they were happy to keep him on after the fraud came to light as he was a reliable and good worker.

Det Garda Heffernan said Mr Kroscen had made two repayments of €1,000 each while he was also paying back €50 a week and the sum outstanding to the state now stood at €33,400.

He agreed with defence barrister, William Bulman that Kroscen had co-operated fully with the Garda investigation, had no previous convictions and not come to Garda attention since the fraud.

Mr Bulman said his client was making every effort to repay the money but imposing a custodial sentence would mean he would not be able to repay anymore money and the State would be at a loss.

Kroscen’s employer, Trevor Whelan said Kroscen was an exceptional employee who was highly productive making pallets and he found him both trustworthy and reliable in his work.

Judge David Riordan said he accepted Kroscen had no previous convictions and had spared the State the expense of a trial with his guilty plea which were both to his credit as mitigating factors.

He said at a repayment rate of €50 a week, it would take Kroscen to 12 years repay the outstanding monies to the state but he accepted a jail sentence would prevent him repaying any money.

He imposed a two and a half year jail sentence but suspended it for a period of six years on condition that Kroscen continue repayments at a rate of €50 a week for the six years.

Judge Riordan also ordered Kroscen to do 210 hours community service in lieu of a concurrent two and a half year jail term, which he imposed as a sentence on another of the charges.