Dole scammer claimed more than €30,000 in the name of her late cousin
A mother of five who fraudulently claimed over €30,000 in social welfare benefits in the name of her late cousin will be sentenced early next year.
The fraud came to light in 2015 when Jane Fay (64) applied for a public services card in her own name and the facial recognition system matched her photograph to the claim under her cousin's name. She had stopped the fraudulent claims the previous year.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Fay has repaid the Department of Social Protection over €22,000 with the help of her family. A further amount of €11,534 is available in a frozen bank account, leaving €747 outstanding.
Fay was in financial difficulties when she took up a job during the 1980s using her late cousin's name so she would not lose her own benefits. She became unwell in 2010 and was paid illness benefit in her cousin's name.
She was then made redundant and received job seekers benefit in the false name. She stopped making the fraudulent claims in September 2014.
Fay, of Bawnlea Avenue, Tallaght, Dublin pleaded guilty to making a fraudulent claim at AIB, Main Street, Tallaght on April 22, 2010. She has no previous convictions.
Fay had been sent forward from the district court on signed guilty pleas to 38 similar charges related to the fraudulent claims made between April 2010 and September 2014. The total loss amounted to €34,781.
Fionnuala O'Sullivan BL, defending, handed in testimonials from people in her community, friends and her family outlining how she had been a huge assistance to others and has cared for her son with mental health issues.
Judge Melanie Greally adjourned sentencing until February 2 next to allow the balance of the compensation to be gathered and allow her to read the large amount of testimonials.
Garda Nigel Daly told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that Fay attended at the social welfare office in Tallaght in April 2015 to have her photo taken for her public services card which is now required to receive social welfare benefits.
The image of Fay was then searched against all other images held by social welfare and a match was found with a Teresa Royal.
Fay was interviewed by gardai and said Ms Royal had been a cousin of hers who had died 25 to 30 years previously. She said she had a birth cert for Ms Royal but could not remember how she got it.
She told gardai that 20 years previously she had been in financial difficulty and begun a job under the name of Ms Royal so she would not lose benefits in her own name. She had become sick in 2010 and as her employment was in Ms Royal's name she received illness benefit in that name.
She was then made redundant and claimed job seekers benefit in Ms Royal's name until September 2014 when she sent an email closing her claim and saying she was leaving the country.
Fay said she used the money to help her children and to live her own life. Gardai also found a passport in the the name of Ms Royal.
Gda Daly said a bank account in the name of Ms Royal has been frozen at the AIB in Tallaght and €11,534 remains in that account. He said the rest of the money has been repaid apart from €747.
Gda Daly agreed with Fionnuala O'Sullivan BL, defending, that it was very unusual that a case of this kind to come to court with the bulk of the money repaid and it was unlikely she would come to garda attention again.
He agreed that Fay's husband had left her in the 1980s and that her eldest son had been tragically killed during a night out in the 1990's. A second son suffers with schizophrenia.
Ms O'Sullivan said Fay instructed that she had sent a confidential disclosure through the department of social protection website that she was wrongly claiming in Ms Royal's name but they had been unable to get confirmation of this.
She said Fay had been struggling financially during the 1980s and she took the opportunity to work when it came up. Fay had stopped making the claims in September 2014 and when gardai later became involved she made admissions and co-operated fully.
Ms O'Sullivan said Fay's extended family had tried to assist her now as she had assisted them in the past.
She handed in testimonials from people in her community, friends and her family outlining how she had been a huge assistance to others and has cared for her son with mental health issues. She also handed in medical reports and said Fay is in poor health.