26 Jun 2022

Hungarian national jailed for €61k social welfare fraud

Hungarian national jailed for €61k social welfare fraud

A Hungarian national who came to Ireland under a false name has been jailed for 12 months after he stole over €61,000 from the State by fraudulently claiming social welfare.

Casaba Ilyes (57) of South Circular Road, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sample charges of stealing a total of €61,633 in social welfare at various post office on dates between July 2011 and July 2017. He also admitted possession of a Hungarian driving license knowing it to be false on March 28, 2019. He has previous convictions for road traffic offences.

Detective Garda Eimhear Keeshan told Dara Hayes BL, prosecuting that in November 2017, staff in the Department of Social Welfare noticed that the photographs on documentation relating to a Hungarian national bore similarities to Ilyes’ genuine identification.

An investigation was launched and confidential information led to the discovery that a particular vehicle was registered to Ilyes and his address. When the documentation relating to the vehicle was analysed, it was discovered that Ilyes' photograph was the same as that on the bogus Hungarian identification.

Ilyes’ home was subsequently searched and four false driving license and passports bearing the other name were discovered.

He was arrested in March 2019 and made full admissions during garda interview. He said he came to Ireland in 2003 under the false identity but later applied for a Hungarian passport in his own name.

He worked under his own name but continued to claim job seeker’s allowance under the false name.

Seoirse Ó Dúlaing BL, defending, acknowledged hat the court has to send out a message that there will be consequences for this kind of criminal behaviour, but he asked for the case to be adjourned to allow Ilyes time to continue reimbursing the State.

He confirmed that to date, his client has paid back €12,900 in monthly payments but there is still just over €48,000 outstanding.

Judge Melanie Greally adjourned the case for a week to consider it. On Monday she sentenced Ilyes to two and half years in prison but suspended the final 18 months on strict conditions. She said Ilyes must repay the outstanding balance owed to the State within eight years.

The judge acknowledged that many letters handed into the court on Ilyes’ behalf described him as a well-liked member of the Hungarian community in Ireland. She accepted that he had worked legally under his true identity and had proven himself to an industrious and well-resourced person in that regard.

Finally, Judge Greally accepted that Ilyes’ pleas of guilty saved the State the cost of a lengthy and complicated trial.

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