A 73-year-old pensioner who fraudulently collected his brother’s state pension for seven years has avoided jail.
Albert Monahan received 356 weekly payments of €219, totalling €77,964, while assuming the identity of his brother Peter Monahan, who lives in England.
Monahan, of Carnlough Rd, Cabra, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four sample counts of theft at Berkeley Road Post Office, Phibsborough, on dates between November 2007 and October 2014, and one count of producing a false instrument.
Describing Monahan as a person who had played loosely with other people’s property over the course of his life, Judge Melanie Greally suspended a four-year sentence in full, and told Monahan she would have imprisoned him were it not for his poor health.
When first questioned, Monahan, who has two previous convictions for using false cheques, told gardaí: “I knew I would be caught but it was just too tempting.”
He told gardaí he used the money to install new bay windows and new floors in his home and to stock up his fridge with good food. He said his brother had told him he could “do what he wanted with his labour book”.
Garda Owen Tracy told Eilis Brennan, prosecuting, Albert Monahan’s brother, Peter, lived in England until 2006 when he returned to Ireland to live with Albert and legitimately claimed disability benefits.
After Peter’s return to England in 2007, Monahan forged a signature to apply for his brother’s pension, to be collected at Berkeley Road Post Office where he felt he would not be recognised.
Garda Tracy said he visited Monahan’s home in October 2014 on foot of an investigation carried out by the Department of Social Protection and asked to speak with Peter Monahan.
Monahan told him Peter had been living in England since 2007. He agreed to visit Mountjoy Garda Station the next day to be interviewed. He admitted the fraud immediately.
Keith Spencer, defending, said Monahan had suffered several heart attacks and had undergone triple bypass surgery. He indicated that Monahan had no means to repay any of the stolen money but would be willing to repay the Department of Social Protection by way of a deduction from his social welfare payments.
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