Carer pays back €18k from dole fraud

Louise Daly
Louise Daly

A CARER who unlawfully obtained €18,000 in dole payments has paid back all the money, Dublin District Court has heard.

Louise Daly, 31, with an address at Nephin Road in Cabra, Dublin, was ordered by Judge John Brennan to appear again for sentencing on a date in July. Following an earlier warning that she risked facing a custodial sentence she brought  a €14,000 cheque to court to pay the balance owed.

Judge Brennan adjourned the case to ensure that the cheque has cleared.

She was prosecuted at Dublin District Court by the Department of Social Protection.

Outlining the facts of the case, prosecution solicitor Joseph Maguire said she faced six counts of making false declarations in circumstances where she was claiming the Jobseeker’s Allowance while working between July 2010 and December 2014.

She had no previous convictions and previously she had paid another lump sum and €18 was getting deducted weekly from her one parent family payment.

At that rate it would have taken 15 years to repay the social welfare authorities, the court heard. 

Pleading for leniency, the defence asked Judge Brennan to note that Daly had no prior criminal convictions and had entered a guilty plea at the first opportunity. 

She was deemed to be a valuable career of the HSE, her lawyer said.

She pleaded guilty to charges under the Social Welfare Consolidation Act.

In the district court the offence can result in a fine of up to €2,500 and a possible six-month sentence in addition to having to repay the social welfare authorities.

The court can only consider leaving defendants accused of dole fraud without a criminal record if all the money has been repaid.

Judge Brennan had said the substantial period of time involved was an aggravating factor and these are matters that affect the community in a broad way.

Previously he had warned her that unless a credible plan was before the court in relation to the amount outstanding a custodial sentence will be considered.