A gym worker who obtained more than €17,000 in dole payments while secretly earning a living under another identity, has been sentenced to 220 hours community service.
Father-of-two, Jean Tamfutu, 40, with an address at the North Circular Road, in Dublin, pleaded guilty to two counts of using his friend's PPS number when he commenced employment. The charges are under the Social Welfare Consolidation Act.
Tamfutu, who is originally from Congo, continued obtaining social welfare payments and rent allowance, totalling €17,672, under his own name but was using a friend's identity for his job.
The court had heard that from 2011 to 2013 one of his friends had been out of the country and “before leaving gave him his identification documents”.
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”.
The defence said the friend thought up and set up the plan and asked Tamfutu to do this.
The offences, at district court level, can result in a fine of up to €2,500 as well as a possible six-month jail sentence. The social welfare office can continue to recoup money owed after a court prosecution has been finalised.
Dublin District Court heard he came to Ireland in 2005 and had been working for several years, supports two children and had needed to send money to his sick father.
Judge John O'Neill said the crime was “different to the normal run-of-the-mill situations…This man deliberately and premeditatedly used someone else's PPS off their own bat, adding to their unlawful intent”.
Judge O'Neill said it was a substantial debt, but he took into consideration that he had paid back €3,820. He also noted Tamfutu pleaded guilty, had no prior criminal convictions and had co-operated fully with the Probation Service which provided the court with a pre-sentence report.
The judge imposed a 220-hour community service order in lieu of a three-month jail term and warned that the default sentence would be imposed if the work was not done.