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Man 'did not know he was cheating' while claiming €26k in dole payments

Manus McFadden
Manus McFadden

A MAN, who claimed he did not he know he was cheating when he fraudulently claimed more than €26,000 in dole payments, has been fined €500.

Manus McFadden, with an address at Easton Park, Leixlip, Co. Kildare but formally of Gortlee Road, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal pleaded guilty to charges under the Social Welfare Consolidation Act.

Judge John O'Neill heard at Dublin District Court that McFadden received €26,525 and has given €5,323 back to the social welfare authorities. Prosecution solicitor Joseph Maguire said at the current repayment rate of €50 a week it would take eight years to recoup all the money.

He faced one charge for failing to notify he was working and making five false declarations.

He was claiming Jobseeker's Allowance between September 2009 and May 2012 but did not disclose his wife was working which would have dis-entitled him the benefit payment.

McFadden, who has no prior criminal convictions, told the court that he had told a social welfare employee that his wife started working and that later she had been sick. He thought everything was in order and did not know he was cheating, he said, adding that he intends to increase the repayment amount. Fining him, Judge O'Neill told him the amount outstanding is not going to go away.

The offence, on conviction, can also 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. They can also continue to recover money owed after criminal proceedings have concluded.