Jail for social worker in €96,000 foster fraud
A social worker whose €96,000 fraud left youngsters never in foster care on a HSE "at risk" register was jailed for a year.
Jennifer O'Driscoll (45) received a three-year prison sentence with the final two years suspended as Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard that her fraud was "very serious".
The court heard that youngsters who were never in care ended up on a HSE 'children at risk' register as a consequence of the €96,000 theft.
O'Driscoll overpaid unwitting foster carers, so that she could then claim the excess money back from them in cash. The payments she claimed from sometimes involved children that were never in care.
O'Driscoll of St John's Terrace, World's End, Kinsale, Co Cork, pleaded guilty to 80 charges in relation to offences which left the HSE and child and family agency Tusla facing a €96,962 loss.
She had been given five months to raise compensation for the HSE.
The offences all related to the North Lee social work department in Blackpool, Cork.
O'Driscoll has now paid €54,000 in compensation through the use of savings, the sale of cars and various loans.
Defence counsel, Sinead Behan BL, said her client was also committed to securing another job and continuing to make compensation payments to the State.