A man charged with claiming over €6,000 from social welfare has been fined a total of €200 with six months to pay.
Viktor Mshar of 7 Beechwood Park, Granard, Co Longford, appeared before last week’s sitting of Longford District Court charged with theft and fraud offences.
His solicitor, Bríd Mimnagh, informed Judge Bernadette Owens that, when her client came to the attention of Gardaí, he “admitted everything”.
“He has been getting his wife and daughter, who have been living in Ukraine, to send him money and has paid off €1,500 so far,” said Ms Mimnagh.
“Now, obviously things have changed. His wife and daughter have just arrived from Ukraine yesterday and got PPS numbers. He couldn’t work until he got a PPS number, which he got last week.
“To add to his misfortune, he got a letter recently that he was going to be deported to Ukraine. His taxes were all paid at all times, albeit under a false name, and he has received no money from the state since.”
Mr Mshar was charged with stealing €1,207.70 from the Minister of the Department of Social Protection in July 2007, contrary to section 4 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001.
He was further charged with stealing €1,591.30 in February 2008, a total of €376 in April 2015, a number of sums amounting to €1,9,39.60 in 2017, and a total of €1,116.50 in 2020.
“I spoke to Gda Donaldson and he was impressed with how he tried to pay it back,” said Ms Mimnagh.
“He even helped him as much as possible to get a PPS number.”
The court heard that the balance Mr Mshar has yet to pay amounts to €4,900 but that he was getting “absolutely nothing” from the state.
“Most people would borrow from Peter to pay Paul,” Ms Mimnagh noted.
Judge Owens, having heard the facts, noted that Mr Mshar had paid back €1,500 to the state, “which in relative terms is a significant amount for him in his personal circumstances”.
“But it’s a serious charge to impersonate someone else for such a long time,” she said.
Judge Owens proceeded to fine Mr Mshar €100 on two of the charges, with six months to pay, taking all other charges into consideration.
“On a separate note, I am pleased for him that his family has arrived safely in Ireland,” she said.
“I’m sure it was a huge concern for him, as it is for anyone in Ireland who has family in Ukraine.”
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