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Stolen identity Shop assistant worked under false PPS number for over a decade, court told

Chukwudi Emefiele (54) was provided with the PPS number by human traffickers after he was brought to Ireland from his home in Nigeria

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Chukwudi Emefiele was given a false PPS by traffickers

Chukwudi Emefiele was given a false PPS by traffickers

Chukwudi Emefiele was given a false PPS by traffickers

A shop assistant worked under a false PPS number for more than a decade before the deception was uncovered, a court heard.

Chukwudi Emefiele (54) was provided with the PPS number by human traffickers after he was brought to Ireland from his home in Nigeria.

He used the PPS number for more than 12 years and was working in a department store in Swords when gardaí approached him.

The deception was only uncovered when the real owner of the PPS number was told his social welfare was being stopped, and he claimed another person was using his identity.

Judge Cephas Power imposed a six-month sentence, suspended for one year.

The defendant, with an address at St Margaret's, admitted possession of a false PPS number.

Swords District Court heard that Emefiele came to Ireland on a tourist visa in 2007.

Soon afterwards, he assumed the identity of another man and used this man's PPS number to work. He also used a false UK passport to open a bank account.

In 2020, the real owner of the PPS number was told by the Department of Social Protection his social welfare was being stopped.

The man denied he was working and claimed an unknown person was using his identity.

Gardaí began an investigation, and in June 2020 they went to Emefiele's place of work and he admitted what had happened.

His defence said he was living in dire circumstances in Nigeria and a trafficking agency brought him to Ireland, and helped him to get a PPS number.

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Emefiele started working, was paying tax and sending money home to support his family. He had wanted to regularise his situation, but he 'was afraid of what might happen'.

Emefiele had begun the refugee application process. He was very sorry for what had happened, his solicitor added.

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