A Cork man who claimed €8,000 in Pandemic Unemployment Payments while he had a job has been jailed for four months.
30-year-old Luke Carroll of Ferney Grove, Mahon, Cork, pleaded guilty to 29 counts of theft at Cork District Court.
Detective Garda John Dineen, who is on secondment to the Department of Social Protection, investigated the case where he said there were 23 charges for claiming the PUP payment at a time when he was not entitled to claim it because he was in employment. Similarly, there were six charges for claiming Job Seekers Allowance when he was also in employment.
Det. Garda Dineen said at Cork District Court that the case came to light when he was making enquiries about another matter and he discovered that Luke Carroll was on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment while he was actually in full-time employment in a call centre.
“I commenced enquiries and saw he was working. He was on Job Seekers while in employment,” the detective said. And similarly, he was later on the PUP payment while working.
When questioned he made full admissions. He made the Job Seekers claims between January 28, 2020, and March 3, 2020. This amounted to claims of just over €1,000.
The 23 PUP payments to which he was not entitled amounted to thefts totalling just over €8,000.
Frank Buttimer, solicitor, said the accused had some addiction difficulties at the time and was keen to make repayments by way of weekly deductions from his wages.
Judge Olann Kelleher said it was too late to come up with that suggestion now and that he should have come to court with some compensation if that was what he proposed to do.
He imposed an overall sentence of four months on the accused at Cork District Court.