Woman pleads guilty over €20k social welfare scam

A Cork woman has confessed to 96 charges relating to a €20,000 social welfare scam where she made simultaneous claims for illness benefit in the names of three other women.

Deborah Cotter, from 56 Cranford Woods, Glanmire, Co Cork, entered a signed plea to all charges at Cork District Court.

When the case was first mentioned yesterday, Inspector Pat Meaney indicated that he needed a four-week adjournment to allow time for the preparation and service of a book of evidence.

Defence solicitor Shane Collins-Daly said the book of evidence would not be necessary as the accused was yesterday prepared to enter a signed plea of guilty to 96 counts of deception.

Once this was done, Judge Malone sent the case forward to the opening day of the next sessions of Cork Circuit Criminal Court for sentencing.

The charges refer to the Department of Social Welfare office at Hanover Street, Cork, and state that the defendant dishonestly and by deception induced an officer to accept a medical certificate in the name of another woman to obtain illness benefit for herself.

Three different names were used by the defendant for this purpose, and roughly one-third of the charges relate to the use of each name in the period between May 2012 and Apr 2013.

Weekly illness benefit amounts to €188, and the total involved in all of the charges is more than €20,000.

The background facts on how the offences were committed and detected will be outlined on the sentencing date.

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