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Five years in jail for €500k welfare fraud

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A FATHER-of-four who used false identities to fraudulently claim almost €500,000 in social welfare payments over 12 years has been sentenced to five years in prison.

David Church of Parnell Street, Dublin, and formerly Monadreen, Thurles, Co Tipperary, faced 199 charges of unlawfully claiming jobseekers' allowance and rent allowance at various Dublin post offices between 2002 and 2013.

The 39-year-old pleaded guilty to 13 sample counts at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday.

Church stole a total of €478,052 from the State, averaging about €40,000 a year over the period of the offences.

The court heard Church had drunk or gambled a lot of the money and had no accumulated wealth when he was arrested in July 2013.

The fraud came to light after the Department of Social Protection used facial recognition software to establish that the same photo was being used on a number of social welfare identities.

Judge Martin Nolan said it was a serious fraud on the State and therefore on the people of the country and sentenced him to five years.

Irish Independent