Pen­sioner, 72, claimed €200k dur­ing 18-year wel­fare fraud

Irish Daily Mail - - News - By Jes­sica Magee

A PEN­SIONER who used two PPS num­bers to steal more than €200,000 in ben­e­fits from the Ex­che­quer over a pe­riod of around 18 years has been given a sus­pended sen­tence.

Cather­ine Simp­son, 72, fraud­u­lently claimed de­serted wives’ al­lowance and the non-con­trib­u­tory State pen­sion un­der her mar­ried name, while work­ing a va­ri­ety of jobs us­ing her maiden name of Maguire.

The court heard that Simp­son moved to Ire­land from Eng­land in the 1990s with her chil­dren to es­cape an abu­sive mar­riage, and had ini­tially been en­ti­tled to claim de­serted wives’ al­lowance. The fraud be­gan when Simp­son be­gan work­ing un­der her maiden name, pay­ing PRSI and re­ceiv­ing ben­e­fits in­clud­ing job­seek­ers’ ben­e­fit, ill­ness ben­e­fit and the con­trib­u­tory State pen­sion.

The fraud came to light af­ter fa­cial im­age match­ing tech­nol­ogy was in­tro­duced by the Depart­ment of So­cial Pro­tec­tion.

Simp­son, of Avon­beg Court, Tal­laght, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Cir­cuit Crim­i­nal Court to ten sam­ple counts of so­cial wel­fare fraud com­mit­ted between 1998 and 2016, to­talling €206,696.09.

She ad­mit­ted claim­ing de­serted wives’ al­lowance between Jan­uary 1, 1998, and April 21, 2011.

She fur­ther ad­mit­ted claim­ing the non-con­trib­u­tory State pen­sion between April 22, 2011, and Fe­bru­ary 4, 2016, as a ba­sic-rate, means-tested pay­ment with a liv­ing alone al­lowance and a free fuel al­lowance.

Judge Karen O’Con­nor sen­tenced her to three years in prison but sus­pended it in full, not­ing that Simp­son felt ‘a great re­morse and shame’ and had en­dured a very dif­fi­cult life.

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