Algerian man jailed for fraudulently claiming social welfare in Ireland
An Algerian man who stole over €62,000 by fraudulently claiming social welfare using a fake French identity has been jailed for two years.
Kamel Mahiou (45) of Rathgar Avenue, Rathgar, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of a false driving license, making a false statement at the office of Social Protection and stealing rent allowance, job seekers allowance and job seeker’s benefit on dates between March 2009 and August 2014. He has no previous convictions.
Detective Garda Gabriel Duffy told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting that a man claiming to be a French national applied for job seekers allowance in March 2009 using a French passport and driving license.
He later successfully claimed both job seekers allowance and job seeker’s benefit under this identity for over five years.
In January 2011 the same person also applied for rent allowance and later successfully collected a total of €17,022 under this scheme.
Det Gda Duffy said in September 2014 Mahiou applied for a PPS number using his Algerian passport and a letter from a tenant.
He provided a photograph with that application and using a facial recognition mapping technique officials were able to confirm it was the same man as the French national. He had also used the same phone number as he had with the rent allowance and job seekers allowance applications.
Det Gda Duffy said French authorities later confirmed that the passport and driving license were both fake and no such person existed.
Mahiou was arrested and made full admissions. He said he got the passport and driving license in the UK and admitted that he had used this false identity to claim money from the State.
Det Gda Duffy agreed with Keith Spencer BL, defending, that his client came to Ireland to work and initially had secured employment using this fake French ID. He lost his job and used the same alias to claim the dole and later rent allowance.
He accepted that Mahiou apologised for the offence and expressed his remorse.
Mr Spencer said his client’s reasons for fraudulently claiming social welfare was to allow him to survive in Ireland. He said he was not living a lavish lifestyle.
Counsel said his client asked him to convey his remorse and regret to the court and said Mahioul appreciates the seriousness of his crime.
Judge Martin Nolan said the root of Mahiou’s problem stemmed from the fact that he came to Ireland illegally and he needed resources to exist so he used this fake identity.
He said it was a serious matter to defraud the State of this money and Mahiou must undergo an immediate custodial sentence. The judge acknowledged Mahiou’s admissions and co-operation with the gardaí.