Man offers to plead guilty to fraud

A MAN alleged to have used nine identities to defraud the state of more than €250,000 has offered to plead guilty to all charges to save the state money.

Mullingar District Court heard how solicitors for Paul Murray, of no fixed abode, wrote to the Director of Public Prosecutions offering to plead guilty to all charges of theft from social welfare offices in Cavan, Meath and Westmeath.

However, solicitor Redmond O’Regan said their offer “has not been taken up”.

He made the comments as part of a request to Judge David Anderson to consider releasing the 63-year-old who was refused bail last week because of garda fears that he is a flight risk.

That court heard that Murray had been returning from Thailand once every three months using nine different identities to claim disability and jobseeker’s allowances as well as supplementary welfare allowance since 2006.

He hasn’t had a permanent address in Ireland since 1974.

Yesterday, Inspector Fergus Treanor asked that Murray be remanded in custody for one month because the investigation into his offences is “lengthy” and requires considerable man hours.

Currently, only sample charges relating to three identities are before the court, but the inspector said the number of further charges that could be put to Murray is considerable.

Mr O’Regan said he had seen the “significant” body of paperwork against his client and that it was “sufficient to merit the maximum penalty”.

Murray appeared calm in court and did not speak during the brief hearing.

In the absence of DPP directions in the case, Judge Anderson refused to revisit the previous bail application and adjourned the case for one month to December 2, with Murray agreeing to a remand in custody.

This does not prevent him making a High Court bail application during that time.

Last week, investigating garda Peter Kelly told the court how he had arrested Murray as he left the social welfare office in Cavan on October 19 where he had falsely claimed in the name of Thomas Murray.

When arrested, he had eight false British drivers’ licences, 10 false Irish birth certificates and one British birth certificate, as well as three passports, one of which was in his own name.

Murray has previously used the names Patrick Adrian Kelly and Patrick Murray.

His reply to the sample charges was “I accept this” and his solicitor has indicated that he never attempted to deny any of the matters put to him arising out of the investigation which has already lasted more than three months.

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