THREE welfare cheats who claimed thousands of euro in unemployment benefits while they were working have been warned they will go to jail if they commit similar offences again.
After details of the offences were outlined at Limerick District Court, Judge Aingeal Ni Chonduin told each of the men “If I meet you again you will go to jail”.
In one case, the judge was told that benefits totalling €3,130.70 were claimed over a three month period while the defendant was working at a busy pub and nightclub in the city centre.
In another case - dating back more than a decade - €3,414.90 was claimed over a four month period by a man who was then working for a cleaning and services contractor.
The final case, the court heard, involved a man who was working as a waiter at a restaurant in the city centre while still claiming jobseekers allowance. He claimed a total of €2,832.40 in benefits over a six month period.
Each of the defendants admitted failing to inform the Department of Social Protection of the change in their circumstances. They also pleaded guilty to charges relating to each date they “signed on” declaring they were still unemployed.
In each case, solicitor Michelle Madden, representing the Department of Social Protection, confirmed that guilty pleas had been entered by the defendants some time ago and that all of the monies had been repaid by way of deductions from their welfare payments.
Noting this Judge Ni Chonduin imposed fines of ranging from €250 to €300,
In doing so she warned each of the men if they come before the court again they will be going to jail.