Man admits €1m social welfare fraud after claiming pension payments for dead parents

A MAN has admitted a €1m social welfare fraud conducted over 33 years after claiming pension payments for his deceased parents.

on O’Callaghan (58) of Churchfield Green, Cork appeared before Cork Circuit Criminal Court on signed pleas of guilty to a total of 73 charges. O’Callaghan will now be sentenced next month.

Cork District Court was previously told that 68 of the counts involved theft.

Five counts related to false documentation submitted in respect of fraudulent claims to the Department of Social Protection (DSP).

The district court was told that the 73 charges related to dates over a 33 year period.

Judge Helen Boyle granted an application by Sinead Behan BL for the free legal aid certificate to be extended to allow for a senior counsel to be retained for the defendant.

Ms Behan said this was necessary given the extensive number of charges involved and the large amount involved.

She said that the total amount exceeded €500,000. Jane Hyland BL, for the State, said that, in fact, the amount involved in the various charges was almost €1m.

Judge Boyle extended the free legal certificate.

“It is a significant number of charges and a substantial amount of money,” she said.

O’Callaghan will be sentenced at the end of the current Circuit Criminal Court sessions.

The court was previously told by Garda Mick Nagle, who is assigned to the Department of Social Protection, that the charges followed an investigation launched into pension claims in the names of the defendant’s father and mother.

Claims were made when both were deceased.

Garda Nagle said the Director of Public Prosecutions had ordered trial by indictment before a judge and jury or that the case could be sent forward from the district court on a signed plea of guilty.

O’Callaghan appeared before Cork Circuit Criminal Court on a signed plea of guilty.

Each of the 68 theft charges alleged that pension payments were claimed in respect of his parents, pretending they were alive when in fact they were deceased.

O’Callaghan was remanded on continuing bail pending sentencing.

He did not speak during the brief hearing.

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