A gym worker obtained €20,000 in dole payments while he secretly earned a living working under another identity, a court has heard.
Father-of-two, Jean Tamfutu (aged 40) with an address at the North Circular Road, in Dublin, pleaded guilty to two counts of using a PPS number of another named man when he commenced employment.
The charges were made under the Social Welfare Consolidation Act.
Tamfutu, who is originally from Congo, continued obtaining social welfare payments and rent allowance under his own name but was using a pal's identity and PPS number for his job.
Defence solicitor David Stafford told Dublin District Court his client came to Ireland in 2005 and had been working for several years.
From 2011 to 2013 one of his friends had been out of the country and “before leaving gave him his identification documents”.
Mr Stafford said the gym worker was invited by this friend to “to use that documentation to get employment, he obtained employment, was gainfully employed and used his real identity to obtain social welfare”.
He said it was the friend who thought up and set up the plan and asked Tamfutu to do this.
Pleading for leniency, he said the defendant is making efforts to give back the money, a repayment plan has been set up and the court heard he has come up with €3,000 so far.
Tamfutu has children to support and is looking for work, but finding it very difficult, the defence solicitor said.
The court heard the defendant, who is currently unemployed, still gets social welfare payments and at present owes the dole office €17,000.
Judge John O'Neill sought a probation report and adjourned sentencing Tamfutu until a later date.
“This is a serious matter, made all the more serious by virtue of the fact that this gentleman used someone else's PPS number and the court is not going to entertain that,” he warned.
The offences, at district court level, can result in a fine of up to €1,500 as well as a possible six-month jail sentence.
The social welfare office also have a mechanism to recoup money owed after a prosecution has been finalised.