A MAN who defrauded the Department of Social Protection by claiming benefits for a friend living in Poland has offered to repay â‚¬3,200 at Limerick Circuit Court.
Jacek Sadurski, 34, of Carrig Midhe, Corbally, was appealing the severity of a nine-month prison sentence imposed at Limerick District Court.
Using the social services card of his former housemate, Stanislaw Dam, Mr Sadurski would sign on at the social welfare office at Dominic Street and collect the benefits from the GPO on Cecil Street. Mr Dam would travel to Limerick once a month to collect the money.
Solicitor Darrach McCarthy said â€œthe only payment Mr Sadurski received for this was the occasional bottle of whiskey or petrol money from Mr Damâ€.
State solicitor Michael Murray outlined that the offences had come to light after an inspector at the Department of Social Protection â€œreceived information that someone other than Mr Damâ€ was collecting benefits to which he was no longer entitled, having resumed residency in Poland.
The inspector informed gardai and Mr Sadurski was arrested on April 6, 2011 after presenting Mr Damâ€™s card at the hatch at Dominic Street.
He was charged with three counts of deception between December 6, 2010 and April 6, 2011.
During this time, Mr Sadurski would also collect his own jobseekers allowance payments from the post office on Bridge Street, the court heard.
Mr McCarthy said that while he had previously worked at Dell, Mr Sadurski was currently out of work and caring for his 18-month-old baby while his wife studied business at UL.
Mister Sadurski was willing to repay the department through deductions from his own welfare payments. Mr Murray described the offer was â€œa bit late in the dayâ€ given Mr Sadurski was first interviewed by gardai in April 2011.
But Mr McCarthy said this was not the first time the offer had been made. It was an â€œunusualâ€ welfare case in that the department was not taking the prosecution itself but was a state witness. Mr McCarthy said he did â€œnot wish to go behind the back of the gardaiâ€ by contacting their witness. The offer to â€œmake good the â‚¬3,200 lossâ€ had been made at the District Court hearing and still stood, Mr McCarthy told Judge Moran.
The judge said that â€œfraud in social welfare matters would in the normal course of events warrant a custodial sentenceâ€ and nine months could â€œnot be said to be excessiveâ€. But taking into account that Mr Sadurski was not claiming the money for himself, Judge Moran adjourned the case to the October to see if some money could be repaid.