NewsCrime Desk

Dole fraud mum awaits sentence

Dole fraud mum awaits sentence

A 36-YEAR-OLD Dublin woman unlawfully claimed almost €17,000 in one parent family social welfare payments after she got married, a court had heard.

Catherine Newman (36) with an address at The Pines in Killester pleaded guilty at the Dublin District Court to the benefit fraud.

Judge John O'Neill compared it to a TV advert about fraudulent insurance claims, “where the keynote sentence in it the ad is you are putting your hand in other people's pockets, the same principle applies here”.

Prosecution solicitor Joseph Maguire told the court that Ms Newman had received €16,995 She is paying it back at a rate of €25 a week which is coming out of her family income supplement. The court heard it will take it will take 12 years at the current rate of repayment.

The prosecuting solicitor said the case related to failing to notify she was working and making five false declarations while claiming a one parent family payment. The court heard the mother-of-two was no longer entitled to the one parent family payment after she got married in 2013.

She had initially been entitled to it when she had a part-time job and she was struggling to pay the rent. However, she later moved to full time employment and got married but failed to declare that to the social welfare office which found out in March last year.

The court heard she bitterly regrets doing it and is apologetic. She plans to increase the repayment amounts to €50 a week which is all she can afford.

Judge John O'Neill was furnished with a letter from the woman and said he had no doubt she was worried about the case and that she was not a bad person. However, he said she had “taken a lot of money from taxpayers who are trying to get by themselves”.

Adjourning the case, Judge O'Neill asked for a pre-sentence probation report on her to be prepared.

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 recoup money owed after criminal proceedings have concluded.