Corkman admits 33-year €1m social welfare scam

The accused man was claiming pensions for his mother and father when they were both dead
Corkman admits 33-year €1m social welfare scam

Judge Helen Boyle adjourned sentencing of Donal O’Callaghan (pictured) until November 26 at Cork Circuit Criminal Court. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Sentencing of a 58-year-old Cork man for carrying out a €1 million social welfare scam over a period of 33 years was put back for one month.

The accused man was claiming pensions for his mother and father when they were both dead. Judge Helen Boyle adjourned sentencing of Donal O’Callaghan until November 26 at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Sinéad Behan, defence barrister, applied to have free legal aid extended for a senior counsel saying there was an estimated €500,000 involved in the fraud. Prosecution barrister said the crime extended to the theft of €1 million. Judge Boyle acceded to the application to extend free legal aid for a senior counsel.

After a brief adjournment, Ray Boland SC addressed the court.

“It is a case of significant welfare fraud in the sum of €1 million,” Mr Boland said. 

He suffers a gambling addiction. A psychologist’s report would be useful.

Judge Boyle also extended free legal aid to cover a psychologist’s report.

Garda Mick Nagle who is based at the Department of Social Protection arrested Donal O’Callaghan of 4 Churchfield Green, Cork, following an investigation. The accused man was charged with 73 counts related to a period lasting 33 years. 68 counts relate to theft and five relate to false documentation in support of the fraudulent claims.

Donal O’Callaghan came before Cork Circuit Criminal Court on a signed plea of guilty to the charges and he confirmed that signed plea of guilty to all of the charges against him.

The theft charges state that the accused man claimed pension payments in respect of his parents pretending they were still alive when in fact they were deceased.

No outline of the evidence in support of the charges was given in court. Garda Nagle will give this evidence when the matter comes up for sentencing on November 26.

The defendant was remanded on bail until the sentencing hearing.

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