Dublin social welfare fraudster caught by facial recognition software

Dublin social welfare fraudster caught by facial recognition software

A repeat social welfare fraudster who was caught after his picture was run through facial recognition software by Department of Social Protection investigators has been sentenced to three years in jail with the final two years suspended.

James Maughan (aged 38) was already claiming disability benefit in his own name when he made a claim for Jobseeker's Allowance in a false name.

After his picture was taken for his public services card, suspicious staff ran the image through facial recognition software and discovered his true identity.

He has 11 previous convictions for social welfare fraud from 2013 in almost identical circumstances.

He received a six-month sentence from the District Court on that occasion.

Maughan, of Conyngham Road, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to inducing another to accept an application for job seekers allowance in a false name and stealing €438 in Jobseeker's Allowance, the property of the Department of Social Protection, in July 2015.

The court heard sentencing had been adjourned earlier this year to allow Maughan attend rehabilitation at Cuan Mhuire. He attended there in August but subsequently left in September.

Judge Melanie Greally issued a bench warrant on that occasion.

He was arrested and remanded in custody since November 1, last.

Maughan's defence counsel, Rebecca Smith BL, told Judge Greally that her client had managed to stay drug-free and was allowed to work while on remand in Cloverhill Prison because of his status.

She said there was a cheque in court, which had been provided by a friend of Maughan's to repay the balance of the money which was owed to the state.

He had to repay that money and a relative in Leeds contacted him to say he had a job for him on his fruit and veg stall when he was released from custody.

Judge Greally noted today that Maughan had since reimbursed the department and made good efforts to rehabilitate himself in custody.

She handed down a three year sentence but suspended the final two years.

At the initial hearing in April Garda Ian Abbey told Martine Baxter BL, prosecuting, that a man claiming to be 'Terence Maughan' attended at Cork Street Intreo (social welfare) office in July 2015 looking to apply for Jobseeker's allowance. He was given a form and an appointment for interview.

The man returned on July 8 for his interview and submitted his application form. He said he did not have photo ID but handed over a birth certificate in the name of 'Terence Maughan'.

The man agreed to have his photo taken for a public services card.

Staff who had suspicions about the man ran the picture of 'Terence' through facial recognition software and discovered a match with a James Maughan, who was already claiming disability benefit.

The investigation established that James Maughan had fraudulently claimed €438 that month using the 'Terence' name, as well as claiming an emergency payment of €100.

Gardaí were alerted that the man claiming to be 'Terence' was due to collect a payment at James Street Post Office on July 23.

After James Maughan claimed the payment he was stopped and asked for his name.

He initially told gardaí his name was Terence and said that they were looking for his brother but after he was arrested he admitted his true name.

Maughan has a total of 55 previous convictions including the 11 social welfare convictions. The majority of the convictions are theft-related.


More in this Section

Legal loophole for 70,000 drivers disqualified since 2012Legal loophole for 70,000 drivers disqualified since 2012

23-year-old man arrested following armed robbery in Cork city23-year-old man arrested following armed robbery in Cork city

Shooting the darkness: The Troubles in picturesShooting the darkness: The Troubles in pictures

Gardaí believe boy (16) was returning home from house party when struck by vehicleGardaí believe boy (16) was returning home from house party when struck by vehicle


Lifestyle

‘Children of the Troubles’ recounts the largely untold story of the lost boys and girls of Northern Ireland, and those who died south of the border, in Britain and as far afield as West Germany, writes Dan Buckley.Loss of lives that had barely begun

With Christmas Day six weeks away tomorrow, preparations are under way in earnest, writes Gráinne McGuinness.Making Cents: Bargains available on Black Friday but buyer beware!

From farming practices in Europe to forest clearances in the Amazon, Liz Bonnin’s new show seeks solutions to some of the damage done by the world’s appetite for meat, writes Gemma Dunn.New show seeks solutions to some of the damage done by the world’s appetite for meat

Louis Mulcahy reads in Cork this weekend for the Winter Warmer fest, writes Colette Sheridan.Wheel turns from pottery to poetry

More From The Irish Examiner