Sunday 18 February 2018

Man claimed over €40k of Jobseeker's Allowance in brother's name, court hears

Was also making a legitimate social welfare claim in his own name at the time

Stock picture
Stock picture

Fiona Ferguson

A 62-year-old man who fraudulently claimed over €40,000 of Jobseeker's Allowance in his brother's name was caught as a result of facial imaging technology, a court has heard.

Owen McKeever pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to fraudulently claiming jobseekers allowance in the name of Brendan McKeever on dates between 2009 and 2013.

McKeever, of Durrow Road, Crumlin, Dublin had been sent forward from the District Court on signed guilty pleas to 50 sample counts of social welfare fraud.

The total loss to the exchequer was €41,871.

McKeever was also making a legitimate social welfare claim in his own name at the time.

Garda Ian Abbey told James Dwyer BL, prosecuting, that facial imaging technology was introduced in the Department of Social and Family Affairs in 2013. A match was later discovered between a genuine photograph of McKeever and a photograph of McKeever purporting to be his brother.

Gda Abbey said he interviewed McKeever who immediately made full admissions and told him: “I put my hands up.”

McKeever's brother had been home from the UK for a time and began signing on for a claim in his name which McKeever continued when his brother returned to the UK.

McKeever told gardai he did not think the total was as much as it was but accepted it.

Mr Cathal O'Braoinan BL, defending, said McKeever had run a number of businesses, including a delivery business, which had failed as a result of the recession and his vehicles repossessed. He said he did not have significant debts as a result but it had led to change in lifestyle for him.

He asked the court to take into account his client's immediate co-operation and full admission which he said had saved the State time and resources in what could have been a technical and lengthy trial.

Counsel said his client was someone who was of previous good character and was remorseful once confronted. He said his client was a single man who was the sole carer for his 87-year-old mother.

He said McKeever has begun repaying the money at a rate of €50 per week and asked the court for time to allow further money be gathered.

Judge Karen O'Connor adjourned sentencing until January 28 next.

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