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Health-care worker claimed €28,000 as single parent while her husband lived overseas

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
The court heard that the total fraud was €28,040 and "to date no money has been repaid'
The court heard that the total fraud was €28,040 and "to date no money has been repaid'

A HEALTH-care worker has been fined for fraudulently claiming €28,000 in one parent family benefits while her husband lived overseas.

Irene Adegbui, 43, with an address at Avondale Park, Mulhuddart, Dublin, was prosecuted by the Department of Social Protection and ordered to pay €500 by Judge John O'Neill.

Dublin District Court heard that the total fraud was €28,040 and "to date no money has been repaid". Solicitor Joseph Maguire, for the Department, told the court it was a case where the woman was claiming the "one parent family payment while being married".

The judge heard that the woman's husband is currently in Nigeria and she had been mistaken in thinking that because they were geographically separated she was entitled to the payment.

Her husband remains in Nigeria and comes here infrequently, the court was told. In defence pleas for leniency, the judge was asked to note that she is in employment, paying taxes and furthering her education.

She is no longer receiving social welfare payments and has a child, the court was told.

She proposes to pay the money back to the social welfare office at a rate of €200 a month which will mean it will take 12 years to clear the debt. Judge O'Neill noted she had no prior criminal convictions and that an early guilty plea had been entered.

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 wrongfully claimed.