Woman altered tax credits to net €34,000 for friends and family
A 28-YEAR-OLD woman resigned after she was found to have facilitated friends and family to improperly claim over €34,000 in refunds from the Exchequer.
The clerical officer -- who had worked at Revenue since 2001 -- lodged fake medical receipts for operations that never happened so others would get cash refunds from the Revenue Commissioners.
"I did up receipts for the claims -- the receipts were not genuine -- I forged them," she said when interviewed.
Among the activities she also admitted to during the investigation were:
- Changing her own tax record to falsely claim tax relief for tuition fees, retirement annuity and medical expenses.
- Processing her boyfriend's claims for six years from 2002 so he could claim for pension relief, tuition fees, mortgage interest relief and medical expenses. She took genuine receipts from other taxpayers' claims and altered them to support the false claims.
- Making false claims for retirement annuity (RAC) for her boyfriend's father, and 'topping up' his medical claims.
- Falsified tax claims for friend and former Revenue employee totally €15,760.
- Used falsified dental receipts totalling €7,800 to claim tax relief for someone known to her.
During the investigation a pharmacist confirmed they had not filled out the prescription receipts lodged while a consultant confirmed he did not carry out a cartilage operation.
It was also found she lodged a claim in April 2007 for an individual for one-parent family allowance -- but the child was not born until three months later.
The woman offered a number of explanations for her behaviour including the death of a family member, crashing her car, and a history of severe depression. She offered to resign in August 2009 in the hope of halting the investigation.
The woman -- whose actions arose during an internal review -- was found to have changed records as far back as 2002.
She admitted: "The practice of inputting credits for friends/colleagues was common in (redacted) and that some people may have got additional credits they were not entitled to.
"(Name redacted) then stated that the CPSU represented a recruitment grade and someone new is not going to question a culture where they see other (senior) people inputting credits . . . she stated that she was making a broad statement and that the CPSU had made this point previously to HRD (Human Resources Department)."
She later told how in 2009 she was approached by a colleague and asked to input health expenses for one of their friends. She refused and discovered a large claim had been processed the previous year which she thought was "suspicious". The woman reported this to her Executive Officer, but the outcome is unknown.
She apologised for her errors and said she loved her job. "I nearly died for this job, I tried to take my own life, I was in a mental hospital," she said.
The internal investigation -- launched last August -- found that about €34,090 was improperly claimed in refunds, with a "loss to Revenue of €6,818".
On July 18 she offered her resignation, which took effect on August 3.
Gardai are now investigating her alleged falsification of official records.