Irishman who returns from Thailand to ‘sign on' charged with fraud

A man has appeared in court in Mullingar this week charged with defrauding the Department of Social Protection of thousands of euro over four years.

It will be alleged that Paul Murray of no fixed abode but with an address in Thailand claimed in excess of a quarter of a million euro by making claims under nine different names.

He currently faces a number of sample charges relating to claims at Cavan, Trim, and Mullingar.

Following his arrest as he left the social welfare office in Cavan on October 19, he was interviewed and charged. He replied to those sample charges “I accept this”.

Garda Peter Kelly said the sample charges refer to three different identities and his bank accounts are currently being looked into.

During a preliminary hearing at Mullingar District Court, Garda Kelly objected to the 63-year-old getting bail.

Since 2006 he said Murray has claimed various payments, including disability allowance, jobseeker’s allowance, and supplementary welfare allowance.

When arrested, a search of his person and vehicle uncovered 10 Irish birth certificates and one from the UK. He also had eight false UK driver’s licences and three passports, only one of which was in his own name.

Garda Kelly said Murray returns to Ireland from Thailand every three months to sign on.

The passports were used not just for the purpose of making claims but also to travel around the world, he said. Murray has had no permanent address in Ireland since 1974.

The investigation has already gone on for three months and gardaí were “prepared and ready for interview” after he was observed in Cavan signing on under the name of Thomas Murray with false documentation.

Gardaí have much of the original documentation he used to open bank accounts, he said, and a book of evidence will be ready within weeks.

They have evidence of six bank accounts and Murray “made full admissions regarding all aspects” of the investigation, he said.

Solicitor Redmond O’Regan applied for bail, saying his client is not in the best of health and has co-operated completely with gardaí.

His client had never attempted to deny any matters, he said.

He said Murray was happy to surrender his own correct passport and would agree to any sign-on conditions requested by the State.

However Garda Kelly said he was not entirely satisfied that there weren’t other passports.

Murray has been in custody for a week following his initial appearances before the court last week when no bail application was made, as there were difficulties in clarifying an Irish address.

Judge Aeneas McCarthy refused bail and ordered that Murray appear before Mullingar District Court again on November 4.


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