Dublin man received extra dole payments by using fake name

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

A serial social welfare fraudster who was caught after his picture was run through facial recognition software by Department of Social Protection investigators will be sentenced next month.

James Maughan (38) was already claiming disability benefit in his own name when he made a claim for Jobseekers Allowance in a false name. After his picture was taken for his public services card, suspicious staff ran the image through facial recognition software and discovered his true identity.

Maughan has 11 previous convictions for social welfare fraud from 2013 in almost identical circumstances. He received a six-month sentence from the District Court on that occasion.

Maughan of Conyngham Road, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that he did induce another to accept an application for job seekers allowance in a false name and stole €438 in Jobseekers Allowance, the property of the Department of Social Protection in July 2015.

Judge Melanie Greally adjourned the case to next month to allow the results of urine analysis become available after hearing Maughan had a difficult history involving drug abuse.

Rebecca Smith BL, defending, will give a plea in mitigation on her client's behalf on May 26th next.

Garda Ian Abbey told Martina Baxter BL, prosecuting, that a man claiming to be "Terence Maughan" attended at Cork Street Intreo (social welfare) office in July 2015 looking to apply for Jobseekers allowance. He was given a form and an appointment for interview.

The man returned on July 8th for his interview and submitted his application form. He said he did not have photo ID but handed over a birth certificate in the name of "Terence Maughan".

The man agreed to have his photo taken for a public services card. Staff who had suspicions about the man ran the picture of "Terence" through facial recognition software and discovered a match with a James Maughan, who was already claiming disability benefit.

The investigation established that James Maughan had fraudulently claimed €438 that month using the "Terence" name, as well as claiming an emergency payment of €100.

Gardai were alerted that the man claiming to be "Terence" was due to collect a payment at James Street Post Office on July 23. After James Maughan claimed the payment he was stopped and asked for his name.

He initially told gardai his name was Terence and said that they were looking for his brother but after he was arrested he admitted his true name.

Maughan has a total of 55 previous convictions including the 11 social welfare convictions. The majority of the convictions are theft related.

Fiona Ferguson