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TV stylist who claimed dead dad's pension gets last chance to pay €34k

A PAIR of welfare fraudsters, one of whom has worked as a high-profile stylist on RTE's Afternoon Show, have eight weeks to sell their family house and repay the money they owe to the State.

Liam Power (39) and his brother Gareth (35) scammed the State out of €34,000 after they continued to claim their father's pension for three years after his death.

Liam Power has appeared in a regular fashion slot on RTE's flagship daytime programme.

He has taken part in several make-over features for the Afternoon Show and Off The Rails, and was only caught through a random Government check on pension claimants.

The brothers, who say that they are unemployed, fraudulently claimed their father's pension at a post office in Tallaght between April 2006 and February 2009.

They are in the process of selling their family home in Tallaght so they can pay their debt back to the State -- but the sale has taken longer than expected.

The brothers were before Tallaght District Court last month to repay €34,000 to the State, but they said they didn't have the money.





sold

Defence solicitor Kevin Tunney said the house has been sold and the parties are due to exchange contracts this week.

Mr Tunney said the pair want to repay the money but that they have no control over the situation.

Judge James McDonnell said he would give them one final chance to repay the money and adjourned sentencing to September.

The brothers' wrongdoing only came to light when the State did a random check on pension claimants and tried to speak to their father, Michael.

They continued to collect his pension even after the pensions board had indicated it was investigating the pension claim, spending the money on the day-to-day running of the family home.

The brothers admitted 35 counts of dishonestly inducing post office staff to hand over their father's State pension.

The incidents took place at Aylesbury Post Office, Tallaght, on dates between April 27, 2006 and February 13, 2009.

In 2008, the State Pension Contributory Section began a series of random checks on pension claimants to check the validity of their claims.

An inspector from the Department of Social and Family Affairs tried to interview Michael Power as part of this investigation but said that he had been "fobbed off" by the brothers, the court heard previously.

Further investigations by social welfare revealed that Michael Power had died on March 9, 2006.

Mr Tunney said the men put their own lives on hold for a decade to care for their father, who was seriously ill for some time.

hnews@herald.ie


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