Man given 240 hours community service for dole fraud

A Donegal man has been sentenced to 240 hours of community service for continuing to claim social welfare payments after he took up employment.

Marcus Cullen of 8 East Rock, Ballyshannon appeared before Ballyshannon District Court on Friday. The court heard that he had paid back in full the defrauded sum of €1,069.20.

The defendant had previously pleaded guilty to failing to notify the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection of a change of circumstances on January 26, 2019. Cullen also pleaded guilty to making false statements to receive benefits on February 6, 2019 and March 6, 2019.

State solicitor Kieran Dillon explained: “They were declarations to establish entitlement to Jobseekers during a period when he was employed in a local restaurant. He didn’t notify the department of a change of circumstances.”

Mr Dillon said the defendant had previous convictions which had been heard in the circuit court. They related to offences in 2015 and 2016, for which Cullen had served 240 hours community service in lieu of 12 months in prison.

Defence solicitor Rory O’Brien said that there was a degree of overlap between the circuit court matters and those before the district court on Friday

“They occurred as the same set of events,” he said, stressing that his client had pleaded guilty, been fully cooperative and had made full restitution.

“He fully appreciates the seriousness of these matters,” said Mr O’Brien.

The solicitor said his client had certain difficulties in his background, and had been a cannabis user.

“In the interim he has done relatively well,” said Mr O’Brien. “It is a lesson learned.”

Judge Deirdre Gearty said: “Restitution is always a big part of these offences.

“Mr Cullen has some history in relation to this type of matter and I can’t condone in any shape or form that he made false claims and claimed money.”

The judge said she would however accept the findings of the probation report in terms of Cullen’s suitability for community service. 
She imposed a conviction and sentenced the defendant to 240 hours of community service in lieu of six months in prison.

Man given 240 hours community service for dole fraud was last modified: March 4th, 2024 by Staff Writer

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