Kildare man who claimed €22,000 of dole while working avoids jail

Kildare man who claimed €22,000 of dole while working avoids jail

A MAN, who fraudulently claimed more than €22,000 in social welfare payments while he was working as a hotel manager, has been fined €500.

Richard Nolan, 41, from St Patrick's, Cellbridge, Co. Kildare, pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court to the benefit fraud.

Prosecuting solicitor Joseph Maguire told Judge John O'Neill that the total fraud was €22,363 and to date €2,805 has been repaid. The amount outstanding is €19,558, Judge O'Neill heard.

The prosecution was a result of his failing to notify the Department of Social Protection that he was working while he continued claiming the Jobseeker's Allowance.

The court heard that he was employed as a manager in a Co. Wicklow hotel while he was receiving the benefits.

The father-of-four is repaying the money at a rate of €75 week.

Defence solicitor Edward Flynn said his client has a family to support and last year he tried to set up a catering businesses but to date that has not happened.

He asked the court to note that Mr Nolan, who is getting a back-to-work allowance, is supporting his family, had pleaded guilty at an early stage and intends to repay the social welfare office in full.

The offence that can result in a fine of up to €2,500 and or a six-month sentence in addition to being made pay back the amount of benefits he wrongfully claimed. The social welfare authorities also has the means to recover money owed to them after a court prosecution has concluded.

Judge O'Neill noted Mr Nolan had no previous and said he took into consideration his guilty plea. He said the amount of money was substantial but said he had no doubt the defendant will clear his debt.

He fined him €500 and said it must be paid within six months otherwise there would be a 14-day sentence in default.