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Dublin man at “serious risk” of a jail sentence over €27k dole fraud

Albert Doyle
Albert Doyle

A HOSPITAL cleaner who unlawfully claimed more than €27,000 in dole payments while working, is at “serious risk” of a jail sentence unless he comes up with a lump sum, a judge has warned.

Albert Doyle, 33, from Errigal Road, Drimnagh, Dublin 12, is facing prosecution by the Department of Social Protection.

He appeared before Judge John Brennan at Dublin District Court. The fraud totalled €27,700 and he has repaid just €280, the court heard.

The judge was told that the charges which involved five counts of making a false declaration and one for failing to notify the social welfare authorities.

The court heard that during the period the money was obtained from 2012 until 2015, he had been working as a cleaner at St James’s Hospital and he made five false declarations.

Judge Brennan has noted a guilty plea was being entered.

The defence said Doyle was on minimum wage and has not paid any of the money back but wished to “put his best foot forward”.

The court heard he is making €40 fortnightly repayments but at that rate it will take just over 26 years to clear the money he owes to the social welfare office.

His solicitor Siobhan Conlon asked for her client was given more time to pay and he wanted as much mitigation to be put forward as possible.

He is also caring for his father who is recovering from a serious operation, the court was told.

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 benefit fraud without a criminal record if all the money has been repaid. 

They also have a mechanism to recoup money even after a case has been finalised.

Judge Brennan adjourned the case until December and warned the accused that he is at a risk of custodial sentence or there will have to  a lump sum to seriously impact on the matters before the court.