Judge Mary Larkin
A PROBATION report is to be prepared in the case of a man who received more than €32,000 in social welfare payments after he forged a colleague’s signature on official paperwork.
However, Judge Mary Larkin was told there is no evidence that the State is at a financial loss as a result of the fraudulent behaviour which continued for a number of years.
John Barry, 34, of Curraheen Farm, Curraheen North, Askeaton has pleaded guilty to 14 sample charges relating to offences which occurred between December 8, 2014 and June 5, 2018.
At Newcastle West Court, Detective Garda Ethal O’Flynn said the defendant had submitted false documents on 104 separate occasions.
The documents, which featured the forged signature, related to Mr Barry’s casual employment at the used car sales business where he was working at the time.
“He couldn’t certify his own dockets, she was the nominated person,” explained Detective O’Flynn who is on secondment to the Department of Social Protection.
She said Mr Barry was paid more than €32,000 in Jobseekers’ allowance on the basis of the false documents.
Barrister Liam Carroll said the company his client was working for was winding up around the time and that there was no evidence he received “over and above what he was entitled to”.
He said after the nominated person left the company, Mr Barry – a married father of three – believed he had no other option than to do what he did to in order to receive the payments.
“It was a bad idea,” he said.
“There is no evidence he defrauded the State of any money. It is an unfortunate event, he didn’t appreciate the seriousness of it – he does now,” added Mr Carroll who asked that a conviction not be recorded.
Adjourning the matter to February, Judge Larkin requested the preparation of a pre-sanctioned probation report saying she could not decide what to do.