Software used by the Department of Social Protection to analyse profile pictures and signatures helped to uncover the theft of €16,000 in welfare benefits by a Ukrainian man, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has heard.
Dmytro Kedrych (40) of Santry, Dublin pleaded guilty to two sample counts of theft at the social welfare office in The Square, Tallaght. He was jailed for 18 months.
Kedrych travelled to Ireland in 2006 using a fake Latvian passport that he bought in Poland, and worked here for several years under a false name. When he lost his job in 2011 he began claiming jobseeker’s benefit and rent allowance, which he was not entitled to as a Ukrainian citizen.
In 2013 he married a woman with Irish citizenship and became eligible for welfare benefits. He then began claiming more benefits under his own name, for which he provided a photograph and digital signature.
The picture was run through a Department of Social Protection database that uses facial recognition software to generate matches. It revealed Kedrych had registered under his fake name in February 2011.
Detective Garda Colin Rochford told Monica Leech BL, prosecuting, that he arrested Kedrych on January 28, 2014 after observing him collect his jobseeker’s benefit at The Square in Tallaght.
Gda Rochford said that Kedrych told him he had paid €400 for his fake passport in Poland and used it to get a PPS number when he came here.
He agreed with Gerry O’Brien SC , defending, that Kedrych admitted his involvement and cooperated with gardaí, and that he had paid his taxes when he had a job.
Kedrych, who has no previous convictions, has not paid back any of the money. Mr O’Brien told Judge Catherine Murphy that he would only be able to afford a monthly payment of €50 but would be willing to do so.
Mr O’Brien said that Keydrch was now married and had taken responsibility for his wife’s three children, and that his thefts were the result of financial pressures.
Judge Murphy refused Mr O’Brien’s request to impose a non-custodial sentence, saying the crimes were not something he did spontaneously and the fact that he continued to claim under both names was “very concerning”. She suspended the final 18 months of a three year sentence.