NewsCourts

Man caught claiming benefits using facial recognition software is jailed

Jailed: Laib pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Jailed: Laib pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

An Algerian man who was caught claiming benefits under an assumed French identity has been jailed for one year.

Amine Laib (25) used a French passport under the name of “Riadh Karim Laheen” to get a PPS number, with which he claimed Jobseeker's Allowance from the Department of Social Protection.
 
The court heard Laib claimed €17,768 in Jobseeker's Allowance between 2012 and 2014.
 
The fraud was discovered when Laib applied for a PPS number as an asylum seeker under his real name and the Department's facial recognition software matched pictures on file from the PPS number given to his assumed identity.
 
Laib of Mount Tallant Avenue, Harolds Cross, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 11 sample counts of stealing cheques for €124 from the Department of Social Protection at Harrington House, Harrington Street, Dublin and at his existing address between June 1, 2012 and November 11, 2014.
 
He also pleaded guilty to making a false French passport on a date unknown within the State. He has no previous convictions.
 
Judge Martin Nolan acknowledged that Laib was “an intelligent, ambitious and very hard-working young man” but said there must be some deterrent for people who might commit the same offence.
 
Garda Keith Morrissey told Antonia Boyle BL, prosecuting, that a social welfare inspector alerted gardaí and officers seized documents under Laib's two identities during a search of his home.
 
Laib admitted using the two names as he had no employment rights as an Algerian citizen and wanted to work in Ireland.
 
He told gardaí he'd felt entitled to the social welfare payments as he was working and paying taxes using the PPS number obtained with the French identity.
 
Gda Morrissey agreed with James Dwyer BL, defending, that the French passport had belonged to someone else.
 
The garda accepted that Laib had had full time employment which fell to part time and he would have been entitled to the Jobseeker's Allowance claimed if he'd been allowed to work in Ireland.
 
Mr Dwyer submitted to Judge Nolan that Laib had followed his brother, who is now an Irish citizen, to this country in 2010.
 
He said his client had hoped to repay the full amount and had raised €2,500 so far.
 
Mr Dwyer submitted that this case was different from people who “cynically abuse the system” and asked the judge to consider a non-custodial sentence.