An out-of-work chef received almost €30,000 in dole payments after he failed to mention he had €100,000 in the bank, a court has heard today.
Egyptian-born Gamal Borie, 62, with an address at Harrington Street, Dublin 2, pleaded guilty to making a false statement in which he failed to disclose his finances when he made a claim for job-seeker's allowance.
He is being prosecuted by the office of the Minister for Social Protection.
Solicitor Joseph Maguire, for the Minister, told Judge John O'Neill at the Dublin District Court that Borie's case related to undisclosed finances.
He received €102,411 from the sale of a house, had financial means at his disposal and he was not entitled to the €29,360 in benefits he received.
He has given €1,399 back but still owes the social welfare office €27,962, and at the current rate of repayment it will take 19 years to clear it, Judge O'Neill was told.
Borie's solicitor said her client, who is now on disability allowance, suffers from arthritis, diabetes and high blood pressure.
He was not aware it was his duty to disclose the amount of money he had in his bank account, the court heard.
He came to Ireland in 1979 and was gainfully employed until 2007. The money he had from the sale of his house is gone, the court heard.
He had to pay a substantial amount to his wife to support his daughter and her education.
Judge O'Neill said there were no redeeming features and Borie had cost the exchequer about €29,000.
He said the 62-year-old already had approximately €100,000 but he “put his hands into the pockets of Irish tax-payers and took money from them.”
“Why should I not send him to jail, I don't appear to have any alternative?” asked Judge O'Neill.
The defence pleaded for leniency citing Borie's health problems which would make imprisonment harder for him.
“He looked after his family – that is laudable – but not the Exchequer, that is not so laudable”, said Judge O'Neill as he adjourned sentencing until April to allow time for a probation report on Borie to be prepared.
The court also heard that the social welfare department has a mechanism to continue to recoup money owed after a case has been finalised.