Foxford man has ‘first class honours’ in benefit fraud

A man in his late fifties who obtained a total of over €28,000 in benefits from the state after he claimed that he was not working was convicted and fined at Foxford District Court after it came to light that the man had in fact been working on a part-time basis.

Thomas Thompson, Cullonaughton, Callow, Foxford faced five summonses at this week’s court, with the earliest relating to March 2003.

State solicitor Seamus Hughes told the court that Thompson, who received various benefits over the years under the pretence that he was not working, had in fact made a false declaration as the defendant was working on a part-time basis for several years as a cleaner.

The court heard how the defendant has claimed unemployment assistance, job seekers allowance, farm assist and is now currently in receipt of illness benefit. Judge Mary Devins asked if Thompson has a “PhD in social welfare” as it seemed that he has a great knowledge of social welfare entitlements which would be akin to a “first class honours” in the subject area.

Since the defendant was detected he has been paying back weekly instalments from his illness benefit with €753 paid back so far.

Solicitor for Thompson, Joe Tuohy, said that his client is now in receipt of illness benefit as he has had his two hips and knees done, comes from a small farm and has no other assets.

Judge Devins convicted and fined the defendant €500, ordered that €350 be paid as a contribution towards costs and €240 towards witness expenses.

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