herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

Woman faces trial for €229k welfare benefits fraud

HELD: Accused said 'guilty' when charged, court is told

A DUBLIN woman accused of fraudulently claiming €229,000 in social welfare payments over a 14-year period is facing a circuit court trial on the charges.

Mary Connors (35) was granted bail by a judge after she was arrested and charged with multiple counts of welfare fraud.

Tallaght District Court heard that she was alleged to have committed a total of 48 offences at a time when "considerable funds" were moving through her bank account.

Connors, of Cloonmore Park, Tallaght, is charged with failing to notify the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs of a change in her circumstances which would affect her eligibilty for social welfare at various locations in South Dublin on dates between July 2, 1996 and March 30, 2010. A detective garda from the Criminal Assets Bureau told the court he arrested the accused yesterday and brought her to Tallaght Garda Station, where the charges were put to her.

Tallaght District Court heard she replied "guilty" to each of the charges after caution.

The officer told the court that the total value allegedly lost to the State arising from the offences was €229,000.



Allowance

Judge James McDonnell asked for an outline of the allegations so that he could consider bail.

The garda said it was alleged that, during the period in question, the defendant claimed Unemployment Assistance, now known as Job Seeker's Allowance, when at the time she had "considerable amounts of funds moving through her bank account".

Judge McDonnell asked defence solicitor Kevin Tunney if he was privately retained by the defendant.

"There is certainly no application for legal aid," Mr Tunney replied.

State solicitor Kevin Ennis said the DPP had directed that four of the charges were to be dealt with summarily at District Court level.

The remainder were proceeding on indictment and a book of evidence was ready to be served on the accused.

There was no objection to bail and Judge McDonnell gave Connors the formal alibi warning before sending her forward on her own bond of €1,000 to the next sittings of Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Under bail conditions, the accused must reside at her home address, surrender her passport in and sign on every Wednesday at Tallaght Garda Station.

aphelan@herald.ie

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