Man walked into garda station to complain fraudulent social welfare claim suspended
A man who walked into a garda station to complain that his fraudulent Social Welfare claim was suspended has avoided a jail term.
Michael Mongan (38) from Whiteclare Avenue, Baldoyle, Dublin 13, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to using a false identity to steal almost €3,000 from the State over a three-month period.
Judge Martin Nolan sentenced him to two years in prison but suspended it in full on condition that he keeps the peace for two years. Judge Nolan said it was beyond his imagination why Mongan had gone to the gardaí.
“For the life of me I don’t know why he appeared at a garda station to complain. But he did, and it’s lucky for him that he did, because he was stopped in his tracks,” Judge Nolan said.
He warned Mongan that he would have been sent to jail if the amount stolen had been over €10,000 or €15,000.
Judge Nolan suspended the sentence on account of Mongan’s guilty plea, his cooperation with gardaí and the shortness of duration of his false claim.
Sergeant Brendan Bergin told Colm O’Briain BL, prosecuting, that on April 14, 2010, a man came to Coolock Garda Station claiming to be Robert Anthony Gavin.
He told gardaí that the weekly welfare payments of €195 he had been receiving from the Civic Centre, Bunratty Road, Dublin 5 had been suspended.
The man then produced an English birth certificate in the name of Robert Anthony Gavin, and asked gardaí to verify this ID.
He wanted his social welfare claim reopened and wanted to receive back payments for the weeks it was suspended.
Upon investigation, Sgt Bergin found that the man claiming to be Robert Anthony Gavin was in fact Michael Mongan. Mongan had fraudulently claimed €2905 between December 4, 2009 and March 10, 2010 under the name of Gavin while at the same time legitimately claiming social welfare under his own name.
Mongan was arrested on May 5, 2010 and admitted to the fraud, telling gardaí he had used the false identity as he needed to pay back a drug debt. The court heard that Mongan has not yet repaid the money to the State.
Mongan has four previous convictions including shoplifting and deception.