herald

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Man pretended he was his fugitive relative to try and collect his €193 dole cash

Jonathan Murtagh planned to send the money to his relative, the court heard
Jonathan Murtagh planned to send the money to his relative, the court heard

A man whose close relative fled Ireland as his life was under threat pretended to be him so he could collect his dole.

Jonathan Murtagh (24) had planned on sending the money to his relative, who was living in Scotland at the time.

He told a court that his close relative had been "shot at" due to the "Kinahan/Hutch feud".

A detective said Murtagh was caught because gardai were looking for his relation.

Judge Anne Watkin said the charge, which amounted to "fraud basically", was a very serious offence.

The judge ordered a probation report to assess if the defendant was suitable to complete community service and adjourned sentencing.

Murtagh, of Mariner's Port, Sheriff Street, Dublin 1, pleaded guilty before Dun Laoghaire District Court to making gain or causing loss by deception.

Eligible

The incident took place at the GPO on Dublin's O'Connell Street on July 5 last year.

Detective Sergeant Peter Woods said that Murtagh pretended to be his relative so he could collect his social welfare payment of €193.

Murtagh's relative was living out of the country at the time and not eligible for social welfare.

Det Sgt Woods said Murtagh was arrested at the scene and €180 was recovered. The defendant had given the remainder of the money to his girlfriend.

The court heard that Murtagh had 32 previous convictions, mostly for road traffic matters.

Threat

Defence lawyer Kim Moloney said Murtagh had his relative's social welfare card and he had purported to be his relative so he could claim the money.

Ms Moloney said the defendant planned on sending the money to his relation, who had been warned this life was under threat and was living in Scotland.

"He was shot at," interjected Murtagh, adding that this was due to the "Kinahan/Hutch feud".

Det Sgt Woods accepted that this was the case, adding that Murtagh was caught because gardai were looking for his relation.

Judge Watkin said that if Murtagh had wanted to send money to his relative he could have gone out and earned it.

The judge added that "every hard-working person" in the country was being cheated by this offence.

Ms Moloney said Murtagh was in a relationship and had a young child.

She also said he had not been in trouble for some time.

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