One year in jail for dole fraud of €14,000

 

A JUDGE has jailed for a year a man who fraudulently claimed over €14,000 in dole payments using the name “Michael Collins”.

“The court has a responsibility to deter others from embarking on the same crime, Judge Martin Nolan said yesterday. “Welfare fraud was an easy thing to do until now.”

Terence Maughan (47), a father of six, Palmerstown Woods, Clondalkin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to six sample charges of fraud at An Post, Main Street, Lucan, between December 15th, 2008, and February 2nd, 2010. He has no previous convictions.

Garda Stuart Gleeson told Fiona Murphy, prosecuting, that a social welfare inspector alerted gardaí to a suspected fraud when he noted that a “Michael Collins” had been previously using an address in Naas, Co Kildare, but then provided an address in Lucan.

The inspector noted that Mr Collins was collecting his jobseeker’s allowance at the post office in Lucan. He looked at CCTV footage, then alerted gardaí to assist in identifying the man.

Garda Gleeson said a surveillance operation was set up in February 2010 when Maughan came into the post office and signed as Mr Collins to collect his payment.

After leaving the post office he was stopped by gardaí. He gave his name and address as Terence Maughan living in Clondalkin.

Garda Gleeson said Maughan replied after caution following his arrest: “I am guilty, guard” before he made full admissions in his subsequent interview.

He said his parents had died when he was young leaving him responsible for his 11 younger siblings. He married young and now had six children. Maughan had been claiming jobseeker’s allowance legitimately at the time.

Niall Nolan, defending, said his client had €1,500 in court to reimburse the State and hoped to make an arrangement with the Department of Social Protection to pay back the shortfall.