Repeat welfare fraudster sent to jail

A repeat social welfare fraudster who was caught after his picture was run through facial recognition software by Department of Social Protection investigators has been sentenced to three years in jail, with the final two years suspended.

James Maughan, aged 38, was already claiming disability benefit in his own name when he made a claim for Jobseeker’s Allowance in a false name. After his picture was taken for his public services card, suspicious staff ran the image through facial recognition software and discovered his true identity.

He has 55 previous convictions, including the 11 social welfare convictions.

Maughan, of Conyngham Rd, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to inducing another to accept an application for Jobseeker’s Allowance in a false name and stealing €438 in Jobseeker’s Allowance, the property of the Department of Social Protection, in July 2015.

The court heard sentencing had been adjourned earlier this year to allow Maughan attend rehabilitation at Cuan Mhuire. He attended there in August but subsequently left in September.

Judge Melanie Greally issued a bench warrant on that occasion. He was arrested and remanded in custody since November 1.

Rebecca Smith, defending, told Judge Greally her client had managed to stay drug-free and was allowed to work while on remand in Cloverhill Prison because of his status. She said there was a cheque in court, which had been provided by a friend of Maughan’s, to repay the balance of the money which was owed to the state.

He had to repay that money and a relative in Leeds contacted him to say he had a job for him on his fruit and veg stall when he was released from custody.

Judge Greally noted that Maughan had reimbursed the department and made good efforts to rehabilitate himself. She handed down a three-year sentence but suspended the final two years.


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