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Man who used fake identity to claim social welfare wanted by gardai

CourtsBy Sunday World
Man who used fake identity to claim social welfare wanted by gardai

A bench warrant has been issued for a repeat social welfare fraudster after he failed to appear for sentencing.

James Maughan (38) had been caught after his picture was run through facial recognition software by Department of Social Protection investigators in July 2015.

Maughan was already claiming disability benefit in his own name when he made a claim for Jobseeker's 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.

He 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 Jobseeker's Allowance, the property of the Department of Social Protection in July 2015.

The court heard sentencing had been adjourned earlier this year to allow Maughan attend rehabilitation at Cuan Mhuire. He attended there in August but subsequently left in September.

A prosecuting garda confirmed to Judge Melanie Greally that there had been no communication to him from Cuan Mhuire.

Judge Greally issued a bench warrant and asked the prosecution to have a representative from Cuan Mhuire attend court to see why the notification requirements set down by the court should Maughan leave the rehabilitation centre had failed.

At the initial hearing in April Garda Ian Abbey told Martine 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 Jobseeker's 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 23rd. 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.