Nearly 8,000 reports of welfare fraud made last year
“If people think they’re going to get away with it then they’re much more likely to do it.”
Nearly 8,000 reports of welfare fraud were made to the Department of Social Protection last year.
Newstalk reports that just over €80 million in social welfare payments were reclaimed by the department from around 115,000 people in 2022.
That sum was made up in large amount by recovered payments from the state pension and jobseekers’ allowance.
In total, 7,792 reports of welfare fraud were received, with over 80 pc of them being referred on for criminal investigation.
“Very often the overpayment of welfare social protection payments can happen for a variety of reasons,” barrister Fine Gael Senator Barry Ward told Newstalk.
“It is sometimes a mistake on behalf of the recipient or it is sometimes done deliberately in a fraudulent way.
“When that happens there needs to be a criminal prosecution to ensure that the integrity of the system remains,” he added.
“Because if people think they’re going to get away with it then they’re much more likely to do it.”
Four people were jailed for welfare fraud last year, with a total of 123 criminal cases being referred to the Chief State Solicitors Office.
Newstalk reports that of those 123 cases, 66 were finalised in court with four people jailed for the crime.
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