Dead infant’s identity used in social welfare scam

The identity of an infant who had died within minutes of birth was used in a social welfare scam in Co Meath, a court has heard.

Patrick Collins, aged 28, a married father-of-three from Cherry Orchard Parade, Ballyfermot, Dublin, pleaded guilty to eight charges of using a false identity to obtain €8,816 from the Social Welfare Office in Kells, Co Meath, between Aug 2010 and Jan 2012.

Trim Circuit Court heard Collins pretended to be a Derek McDonagh when collecting the payments.

Carl Hanahoe, prosecuting, said Collins had produced identity in that name.

The court heard the real Derek McDonagh had died within moments of birth years earlier but a birth cert was later obtained and used to create the false identity.

Detective Garda Ray Flynn told the court that when questioned, Collins said he had been given the fake ID by a family member and he thought that the real Derek McDonagh had emigrated.

Collins added that he was not the only one using that false identity.

The court heard he had now repaid €9,000 to the department.

Judge Michael O’Shea said it was “chilling” that the identity of a deceased child had been used in the fraud.

The judge imposed eight concurrent suspended sentences of three years each on Collins.


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