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Dad and twin sons in €25k dole fraud

signing on: Trio avoid jail over elaborate welfare scam

A 63-YEAR-OLD Dublin man and his "scallywag" twin sons have been spared jail terms over a dole fraud of almost ¤25,000.

Eddie Duff Snr, of South Lotts Road, Ringsend, and his 28-year-old sons Edward and Graham have owned up to their roles in the benefit fraud and have repaid the money.

The three men admitted charges of deception and forgery of dockets at Blanchardstown social welfare office and a number of post offices, two in Dublin and one in Co Meath, between February 2009 and July, 2011. The court heard that the benefit fraud totalled ¤24,719.

Detective Garda Bryan Hunt had told Dublin District Court that they had been investigated following a tip-off but, they had voluntarily stopped the fraud before they were arrested.

Det Garda Hunt said Graham Duff, a carpenter of The Waterside, in Ringsend, Dublin, filled out an unemployment form in the name of his twin. He had got a utility bill and new driving licence issued in Edward Jnr's name and engaged in 115 transactions at Blanchardstown social welfare office.

His brother, block-layer Edward Jnr, who also lives at South Lotts Road, was in Australia at the time looking for work and later became aware of the fraud. Graham took ¤6,129 and their father used ¤11,2600 to pay off a credit union loan.

Duff Snr managed the money and sent ¤7,329 to Edward Jnr in Australia.

Dara Robinson, mitigating, said that Duff Snr had a good employment history and despite having suffered a stroke he still works part-time.

None of the twins' other siblings had been in trouble and the pair were regarded as "the scallywags of the family".

Yesterday at Dublin District Court, Judge Cormac Dunne said benefit fraud is not a victimless crime and it deprives the State of funds for those in need.

He said Duff Snr was the mastermind and his involvement was a paradox of his previous good character. Judge Dunne said the father was not suited to community service due to his health problems. He was fined ¤3,000 and given a five-month suspended sentence.

Graham Duff, said Judge Dunne, was "the primary engineer" of the fraud. He ordered Graham to carry out 200 hours of community service in lieu of a 10-month jail term.

Judge Dunne sentenced Edward Jnr to carry out 160 hours of community service in place of an eight-month prison sentence.