A LITHUANIAN woman who fraudulently claimed more than €6,000 in welfare benefits avoided a conviction as she has repaid all of the monies.
Dalia Rudaleviciene, aged 55, who is from Juragiai in the Kaunas District of Lithuania appeared before Limerick District Court this Wednesday after she was charged with a theft offence.
Through an interpreter, the mother-of-two admitted stealing €6,016 from the Department of Social Protection on dates between June 1, 2014 and January 17, last.
Detective Garda John O’Connell, who arrested Ms Rudaleviciene at the Intreo offices on Dominic Street, said the offences happened at the post office at Cecil Street.
He said the defendant, who arrived in Ireland in 2005 returned home last year to care for her sick mother but continued to claim weekly social welfare benefits here.
He said she regularly flew back to Ireland for short periods to “sign on” and that when she was in Lithuania she arranged for a friend to collect the monies from the post office.
Solicitor John Herbert said his client, who has no previous convictions, had made full admissions when she was arrested by gardai on Tuesday afternoon.
He said there was a “domestic horror” in the background and that his client’s ex-husband only agreed to a divorce a decade ago on condition she pay him €20,000.
He said following her arrival in Ireland Ms Rudaleviciene worked at a factory in Shannon having taken out a loan to pay her ex-husband.
He said in 2009 she lost her job as a result of the economic downturn but continued to live in this country.
Mr Herbert said his client returned to Lithuania last year to care for her elderly mother after her father died.
“She knew what she was doing was irregular but she was never aware of the seriousness of what she was doing,” he said.
He said his client was a woman “who has put everyone before herself” and who had “effectively fallen into criminality”.
Judge Marian O’Leary was told the defendant has a return flight to Lithuania booked for this Thursday and that it is her intention “never to burden this State again”.
The court was told that after one of Ms Rudaleviciene’s children, who lives in the United States, became aware of her arrest, €6,500 in cash was forwarded to the gardai to repay the monies stolen.
Judge O’Leary applied the Probation Act.