herald

Monday 27 March 2017

Man claimed €50k benefits under fake name

Samba Sow is paying back money he falsely claimed
Samba Sow is paying back money he falsely claimed

An asylum-seeker who took a false identity to work in Ireland before claiming €50,000 in benefits when he lost his job has avoided going to prison.

Samba Sow claimed for Jobseeker's and rent allowance under the name Moussa Sow between 2011 and 2014.

His deception was spotted by the Department of Social Protection's facial recognition software when he became leg- itimate last year and tried to drop his false identity, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

Sow, of Kilakee Way, Fir- house, Dublin, admitted 18 counts of welfare theft at Phibsboro Post Office and AIB, Ballsbridge, between April 2011 and December 2014.

Handing him a suspended two-year sentence, Judge Catherine Murphy noted that although Sow claimed his entitlements under a bogus name, he never tried to claim double payments.

"As soon as he was given an alternative social welfare payment, he ceased claiming the first payment," she said.

Passport

Gda Nigel Daly told Dean Kelly, prosecuting, that Sow arrived in Ireland from Senegal in 2007 and claimed asylum. Based in Tralee, Co Kerry, he received €19 support a week.

He then paid €900 for a French passport with the name Moussa Sow which allowed him to work in Ireland. He acquired a PPS number under the false identity and worked in a pub in Dublin for the next four years. While working, Sow paid income tax and PRSI.

Mr Kelly said he was made redundant and began claiming benefits as Moussa - €50,006 in total over the next four years.

However, when granted permission to live in Ireland, he brought the claim under Moussa Sow to an end and made a legitimate claim in his real name, Mr Kelly said. He was detected and arrested. Sow has no previous convictions.

Paul McCarthy, defending, said Sow contacted the authorities and has so far paid back €1,000.

He continues to support his wife and two children in Africa and hopes to gain employment soon.

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