No jail after repaying €45k falsely-claimed jobseeker’s allowance

A man who claimed €45,000 in jobseeker’s allowance by using two different identities over several years, while working under a third identity, avoided a jail term yesterday by repaying the full amount of fraudulent claims. Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed an 18-month suspended jail term on Jose Da Costa, aged 37, who was living at Hardwick St, on St Patrick’s Hill, Cork.

Da Costa had gathered a total of €14,000 and offered to make weekly payments at a rate of €125 per week until the balance is cleared.

Previously, at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Ó Donnabháin said it would have taken an extremely long time to pay back what was taken. The case was adjourned until yesterday for a more realistic approach to compensation.

Da Costa brought the remainder of the €45,000 to court today.

In those circumstances, the judge said he was prepared to impose a fully suspended sentence.

Garda Hilary Lynch, on secondment to the Department of Social Protection and Family Services, testified previously that the Mozambique national moved to Portugal as a teenager and later obtained a Portuguese passport. He came to Ireland in 2007 and signed on for jobseeker’s allowance in one name and then in another. She said that he worked in catering under a third name.

Between 2007 and 2016, he claimed €45,000 in job seeker’s allowance to which he was not entitled.

Gda Lynch said facial image matching software identified Da Costa as the same person claiming jobseeker’s allowance under two names. It was later established he was employed in the catering industry.

He pleaded guilty to having a public services card in a name which was false and which he knew to be false. He admitted sample counts related to stealing jobseeker’s allowance.

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