It was reported in today’s Irish Times that a 33 year old woman was given a three year suspended sentence where she was flying into the country to collect Jobseekers allowance over a 4 year period. The welfare fraud was uncovered when the Regional Inspector of Social Welfare inspected flight manifests and saw she was flying in once a month to collect the payment.
Crucially, here the woman had repaid all the money to the Social Welfare and this is the main reason she was given the suspended sentence. This case on welfare fraud comes after the Garlic importer fraud case where it was held that the fact that money has been repaid must be taken into account when sentencing.
The above cases that have been reported have unusual elements to them. Welfare fraud can arise sometimes unwittingly by simply not alerting the authorities when your family circumstances have changed. It is incumbent on you to update your details. In other cases it may arise due to financial stress.
It is critical where you believe you may be involved in welfare fraud that you seek immediate legal advice about dealing with it.