Wednesday 21 February 2018

Dad of eight (33) avoids jail after falsely claiming €13k in social welfare

Edward Corcoran at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Edward Corcoran at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Fiona Ferguson

A 33-year-old father of eight has been spared jail after he fraudulently claimed over €13,000 in social welfare payments.

Edward Corcoran is now having his legitimate social welfare payments docked and it is estimated he will have repaid the stolen money to the State in nine years time.

Corcoran of Kishogue Park, Lucan, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 11 counts of stealing various types of social welfare payments within the county between June 2009 and March 2011.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring ordered him to do 220 hours of community service in lieu of 2.5 years in prison.

He is to complete the community service within the next 12 months, and will continue having his social welfare payments cut by €30 per week.

Judge Ring said this sentence would allow him to pay back his debt to society, while remaining in the community and paying back his monetary debt.

“Incarceration would see an end to the repayment to the State,” she said.

She told Corcoran he had stolen from his community: “Your neighbours, your other family members…these are the people who suffer.”

She said: “People think there are no victims but of course there are. People can not get services and part of the reason is because others are making claims to which they are not entitled… there are many victims.”

Garda Colleen Doherty told Fergal Foley BL, prosecuting, that social welfare inspectors had become suspicious of certain payments being made. An investigation established that Corcoran claimed under false names on 65 occasions, fraudulently collecting €13,580 in total.

Corcoran, who has eleven previous convictions, was arrested and admitted the wrongdoing during garda interviews.

Cathal McGreal BL, defending, said Corcoran was a recovered drug addict who suffers with depression. He is currently engaged in a community employment scheme as well as helping at home with his children.

He said Corcoran has volunteered within his community and has not socialised, smoked or drank since he began repaying the money to the State.

Mr McGreal told Judge Ring that Corcoran was afraid of going to prison and the offence arose in a period of his life from which he has now recovered.

Judge Ring noted from reports that Corcoran is now clean of drugs and is taking appropriate steps to deal with his mental health issues and to prevent drug addiction relapse.

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