Friday 21 September 2018

French music teacher used dual identities to claim €175,000 in welfare

Daniel Daudet. Picture: RTE
Daniel Daudet. Picture: RTE

Aoife Nic Ardghail

A French music teacher who rented a Dublin penthouse apartment with its own private swimming pool had dual identities so he could work and claim social welfare, a court has heard.

Daniel Daudet obtained a PPS number under the name Alexander Daude in 2002 and used this to claim €175,000 in unemployment, Back to Education and rent allowances on dates up to 2015.

He got a PPS number using his real name a year later and between March 2011 and May 2012 claimed social welfare payments under both aliases. Garda Ian Abbey revealed the penthouse 40-year-old Daudet shared with his husband and occasional Airbnb guests was rented at €3,000 a month.

During the trial, in which Daudet contested 783 charges of social welfare fraud, the jury heard he altered his ID card to apply for the Alexander Daude PPS number using Tippex, a printer and scanner.

Daudet, of Baltrasna House, Spencer Dock, was convicted at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last November of using a false instrument in Dublin on July 10, 2002, and to using a false French national identity card within the State on August 15, 2008.

He was found guilty of 720 further charges of fraudulently claiming social welfare payments from August 2002 to August 2015. The jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on these charges but disagreed on another 61 counts. Daudet has no previous convictions and had pleaded not guilty to all 783 charges against him.

Gda Abbey said the offending came to light when the Department of Social Protection flagged that a claimant Alexander Daude was providing unsatisfactory information.

He told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting, that a Special Investigations Unit officer in the department searched online for Alexander Daude and found a LinkedIn profile for Daniel Daudet.

The photograph and birth date the department had on file for Alexander Daude matched the same LinkedIn details for music teacher Daniel Daudet. Further inquiries revealed that Daniel Daudet had a different PPS number and home address.

Gda Abbey revealed that the department used facial image matching software to review a photo captured of the person purporting to be Alexander Daude at a meeting with officials in 2015. The garda said on foot of the image match and other documentation gathered in the investigation, he got a warrant to search Daudet's Spencer Dock address.

Among the documents seized at this premises were photocopies showing the alteration of an ID card from Daniel Daudet to Alexander Daude.

Though Daudet admitted to gardaí in interview that he had been falsely claiming social welfare, it was the defence case in the trial that he had been told to plead guilty by his then legal team.

Gda Abbey agreed with Blaise O'Carroll SC, defending, that Daudet had been repaying the State by €100 a week since 2016 and that he currently owed €167,800.

Mr O'Carroll said it was Daudet's intention to pay back all the money he owed to the State even after whatever sentence was imposed on him had ended.

Judge Melanie Greally adjourned the matter until later this month to consider her sentence.

Irish Independent

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