Fraudster funded life in Poland with €7,250 from dole
A MAN who fraudulently claimed social welfare to fund his lifestyle in Poland has been fined €1,500.
Tim Kennelly (45), who is originally from Rathea, Listowel, Co Kerry but has been living in Poland since his marriage, continued to return home once a month to sign on.
He was observed by gardai and investigators from the Department of Social Welfare at Cork Airport leaving the country after he had continued to fraudulently claim jobseeker's allowance.
Mr Kennelly admitted 10 separate charges for theft and fraud offences.
Detective Garda Paul Walsh told Listowel District Court that between January 17, 2012, and January 15, 2013, Kennelly had claimed €7,520 to which he wasn't entitled.
Det Gda Walsh said he had received a cheque for the full amount from Mr Kennelly's solicitor, Patrick Enright.
The court heard the money paid in restitution had been gathered with help from his extended family.
Mr Enright said his client was from an "impeccable background", accepted he was "totally wrong" and was "relieved" the matter had come to a head.
Kennelly had embarked on a relationship with a Polish woman he met who was holidaying in Ireland.
The couple had married in Poland and moved there to live.
Because of his limited Polish he was unable to secure work but his wife was working.
"He was just using the money to support his family and survive in Poland but he has none of the trappings of wealth," Mr Enright added.
Prior to that, Kennelly had been in receipt of jobseeker's allowance after he was made redundant from his job.
Kennelly had no previous convictions and, according to his solicitor, "could not have done more to remedy the situation he found himself in".
Judge Mary Larkin fined him €150 for each of the 10 offences.
She said while she was of the opinion social-welfare fraud should carry a custodial sentence, she had to take into account the mitigating circumstances, including Kennelly's early admission of guilt and the fact that he had not come to the attention of gardai before this.
She gave Kennelly six months to pay the fine or face 10 days in prison.