Woman 'who did not know husband had a job' spared jail over €29k dole payments
A WOMAN, who claimed she did not know her husband had a job when she unlawfully obtained €29,000 in dole payments, has been spared a jail sentence.
Linda Sallinger (56) from Deerpark Loge, Tallaght Dublin, pleaded guilty to claiming the Jobseeker’s Allowance without disclosing that her husband was in employment.
She had repaid all the money, Dublin District Court heard today.
The charges were under the Social Welfare Consolidation Act. In the district court 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 money still owed even after a case has been finalised.
She was prosecuted by the Department of Social Welfare.
In an outline of the allegations, Judge John Brennan heard she had been claiming the Jobseeker’s Allowance but it was later learned that her husband was employed.
Defence solicitor Joseph Coonan told the court that the woman had been married to a man from an African country and they remained together for eight years. However, he was unfaithful and had two children in a different relationship, the solicitor said.
The accused was under the apprehension that he was not working but he was, Mr Coonan said. Pleading for leniency he asked the court to note that all the money has been repaid and she was taking part in a back-to-work scheme.
Asked by the judge if it was accepted by the social welfare authorities that the woman was unaware her husband had been working, prosecution solicitor Edel Haughton told the court that she was co-operative when interviewed and had outlined her circumstances.
Judge Brennan said it seemed to be an unfortunate set of circumstances whereby the accused had essentially been a victim. He noted her co-operation, that she had no prior convictions and the money had been paid back.
He applied Section 11 of the Probation of Offenders Act sparing her a recorded conviction as a well as a possible sentence. “I will not enquire how the substantial sum was discharged,” he said.