Friday 19 January 2018

Woman accused of wrongfully claiming €30k in dole payments after marrying probation officer

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Stock picture

Tom Tuite

A woman has pleaded not guilty to unlawfully claiming almost €30,000 in dole payments after allegedly failing to disclose she got married.

Marie Moynihan (44) of Farmers Bridge, Tralee, Co Kerry, but formerly of Mount Prospect Grove, Clontarf, Dublin is being prosecuted by the Department of Social Protection.

She has pleaded not guilty to charges under the Social Welfare Consolidation Act and will go on trial at Dublin District Court on September.

In an outline of the allegations, Judge John Brennan was told that it was alleged she obtained €29,986 and repaid about €2,000 to the social welfare office via a direct debit. At current rate of repayment it would take 11 years, prosecution solicitor Joseph Maguire said.

It was alleged that she was claiming the Jobseeker’s Allowance. She got married in 2012 and her husband was working as a probation officer and that would have disentitled her to the payments. It was allegedly over a three-year period, the court heard.

Judge Brennan accept jurisdiction for the case to remain in the district court where the offence can result in a fine of up to €2,500 and a possible six-month sentence in addition to having to repay the social welfare authorities.

The court can only consider leaving defendants accused of benefit fraud without a criminal record if all the money has been repaid.

The social welfare authorities also have a mechanism to continue to recoup found owed money even after a case has been finalised.

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