Chef with €100k in bank who claimed €30k in dole avoids jail

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Gamal Borie
Gamal Borie

AN OUT-OF-WORK chef, who received almost €30,000 in dole payments after he failed to mention he had more than €100,000 in the bank, has been spared a jail sentence.

Egyptian-born Gamal Borie, 63, with an address at Harrington Street, Dublin 2, pleaded guilty to making a false statement in which he failed to disclose his finances when he made a claim for job-seeker's allowance. He was fined €250 by Judge John O'Neill at Dublin District Court after he was prosecuted by the office of the Minister for Social Protection.

The offence can result in a fine of up to €2,500 and or a six-month sentence in addition to being made pay back benefits wrongfully claimed.

Solicitor Joseph Maguire, for the Minister, told Judge O'Neill that Borie's case related to undisclosed finances. He received €102,411 from the sale of a house, had financial means at his disposal and he was not entitled to the €29,360 in benefits he received over three years.

He has begun repaying the money but still owed the social welfare office €24,512 and at the current rate of repayment it will take nearly 17 years to clear it, Judge O'Neill was told.

The prosecution solicitor said that when contacted by the social welfare authorities about the undisclosed finances, he said he had spent that money over 24 months to finance his lifestyle.

Defence solicitor Brian Keenan said that he has expressed remorse and had engaged with the Probation Service which furnished the court with a pre-sentence report.

The court has also heard that he was on disability allowance, as he suffers from arthritis, diabetes and high blood pressure. He was not aware it was his duty to disclose the amount of money in his bank account, the court had heard.

He came to Ireland in 1979 and was gainfully employed until 2007. The money he had was from the sale of his house is gone, the court heard. He had to pay a substantial amount to his wife to support his daughter and her education, the judge has also been told.

Finalising the case, Judge O'Neill said that he noted that a significant amount was outstanding. The social welfare authorities can continue to recover money owed after a benefit fraud prosecution.

He had said at an earlier stage that the 63-year-old already had approximately €100,000 but he "put his hands into the pockets of Irish taxpayers and took money from them."