Patrick Brady, Drummucker, Carrigallen was convicted of making statements in relation to his employment status which were knowingly false for the purpose of obtaining illness payment and invalidity pension payments and he was sentenced to two months in prison, suspended for two years.
Mr Brady appeared before Judge Kevin P Kilrane at last week’s sitting of Carrick-on-Shannon District Court accused of making false declarations to obtain illness payment between March 5, 2015 and July 14, 2015. He faced one charge in relation to statements made to secure invalidity pension on December 1, 2016.
Mr Brady claimed in declarations the last time he was in employment was in February 2015.
However, in March 2017, information received by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection revealed the defendant received €24,358 from an English company.
State Solicitor Noel Farrell said: “He continued to work with this company throughout 2016 and into 2017.”
The court heard Mr Brady claimed illness benefit totalling €17,108 in 2015 and invalidity payments totalling €4,297.
The total amount Mr Brady was said to have fraudulently claimed was €21,405.
Mr Farrell added Mr Brady has since applied for an invalidity pension, which has been awarded and back dated to 2018. To date €7,112 has been accrued but has not been paid to Mr Brady. He has been informed this will be offset.”
“It is proposed there will be a deduction of 15% from the invalidity pension.”
Mr Farrell said it will take between eight and nine years for the total to be repaid in full.
Defending solicitor John McNulty said Mr Brady, who was born in 1960, worked for 40 years as a welder before developing an illness known as ‘welder’s lung’.
Mr McNulty explained from 2014/15 Mr Brady was “no longer fit for that type of work”.
He subsequently signed up online to work with loan operating company, Provident “with the intention of earning a small amount of commission.”
Mr McNulty noted: “this turned into something much bigger.”
He has not been working since 2017 with Mr McNulty noting: “He has caused himself financial hardship.”
Mr McNulty added: “He did not go with the intention of defrauding the department. He appreciates he should have informed the department of his work as a self-employed person.”
Having heard the evidence Judge Kilrane said: “The defendant was apparently working all of his younger life. Whatever health problems arose he was unable to continue and made applications for assistance which were successful.
“The manner in which Provident collects money is agents go door to door and it appears this gentleman took up employment with Provident operating under the radar, all on the basis he was paid in cash.
“He considered this an opportunity to supplement his social welfare income.”
Prior to giving his ruling, Judge Kilrane said: “This type of thing is serious. The tax payer is pushed hard enough.”
Judge Kilrane added: “It is his own fault that the revenue, social welfare and court is on his back.”
In relation to the first listed summons he was sentenced to two months in prison, suspended for a period of two years on the basis he continues to pay the agreed sum on a weekly basis. Convictions were recorded in relation to the other six summonses, which were taken into consideration.