'It was too tempting' - man who took €78k of brother's pension
An elderly man who fraudulently collected his brother's State pension for seven years has avoided jail.
Albert Monahan received 356 weekly payments of €219, totalling €77,964, while assuming the identity of his brother Peter Monahan, who lives in England.
Suspending a four-year sentence in full, Judge Melanie Greally told Monahan (73) she would have imprisoned him were it not for his poor health.
When first questioned, Monahan, who has two previous convictions for using false cheques, told gardai: "I knew I would be caught but it was just too tempting". He told gardai he used the money to install new bay windows and new floors in his home and on stocking his fridge with good food.
Garda Owen Tracy told Eilis Brennan, prosecuting, that Albert Monahan's brother, Peter, lived in England until 2006 when he returned to Ireland to live with Albert and legitimately claimed disability benefits. After Peter's return to England in 2007, Albert forged a signature to apply for his brother's pension, to be collected at Berkeley Road Post Office where he felt he would not be recognised.
Gda Tracy said he visited Monahan's home in October 2014 on foot of an investigation carried out by the Department of Social Protection and asked to speak with Peter Monahan.
Monahan told him that Peter had been living in England since 2007. He agreed to visit Mountjoy Garda Station the following day to be interviewed.
He admitted the fraud immediately and told gardai: "I'm terribly sorry, I couldn't help it, I just got greedy."
Monahan (73), of Carnlough Road, Cabra, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four sample counts of theft at Berkeley Road Post Office, Phibsborough, on dates between November 2007 and October 2014, and one count of producing a false instrument.
Gda Tracy agreed with Keith Spencer, defending, that Monahan made full admissions at the earliest opportunity. He also agreed that Monahan appeared to be in poor health.
Describing Monahan as a person who had played loosely with other people's property, Judge Greally said the only reason she was not imprisoning him was his ill health.