A man who defrauded the State out of €70,000 in social welfare payments while he was fully employed has been jailed for 18 months.
Andela Konda (aged 40) of Rosedale Cresent, Clonee was caught working as a chef for the Elephant and Castle restaurant in Temple Bar under a false identity. He had used his real identity to claim social welfare and rent allowance payments over the previous four years.
He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to ten sample counts of defrauding the State out of payments by pretending he was unemployed between November 2002 and June 2006. He collected 183 social welfare payments and 42 rent allowance payments during this time, amounting to around €70,000.
Judge Katherine Delahunt said the scale of the fraud merited a prison term of 18 months on each count, to run concurrently. She said if it was not for Konda’s cooperation with gardaií and early guilty plea he would be jailed for twice that time.
Sergeant Patrick Gillick told prosecuting counsel, Ms Marie Torrens BL, that a social welfare official had made a complaint to gardai about Konda in 2006.
Gardai called to his then workplace and arrested him for the fraud. He was immediately dismissed from his job and social welfare payments were temporarily stopped.
Konda is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo and had been living here legally. He obtained a second PPS number under the false identity of a French national and used it to gain employment with the restaurant.
Konda made full admissions on his arrest and apologised for the offences. Defence counsel, Mr Tony McGillicuddy BL, said Konda lives with his wife and her two children, whom he helps raise. He said he also sends money home to his family in Africa.
He submitted that Konda had no obvious signs of wealth and had pleaded guilty at a very early stage.