The brother of a man who defrauded the State of almost a €250,000 has admitted claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance while working.
Peter James Murray (57 ) of Brosna Apartments, Friarsmill Road, Mullingar is the brother of Paul Murray, who is serving an eight year sentence after he admitted in 2011 to falsely claiming almost €250,000 in benefits under a variety of names.
Peter James Murray claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance for more than four years while he worked for a flooring company in Dublin but the charges before Mullingar District Court relate to just six months between April and November 2010.
He was interviewed by inspectors in July of last year when he went to collect his social welfare payment, but the court heard he didn’t have to sign on every week.
He is not working at the moment, and is separated and living with his daughter.
The court heard he claimed more than €50,000 over four years but can only be prosecuted in respect of sample charges relating to €6,644 because of a delay in bringing the case.
The delay arose because of fears that contacting Peter Murray might jeopardize the more serious prosecution of Paul Murray.
And Peter James Murray’s file lay on a desk in Dublin for a year until November 2011.
The fraud came to light following a 2010 Revenue Commissioner’s audit of the firm where Murray worked.
At the same time Revenue were waiting for Murray’s brother to return from Thailand, so they could question him about his fraudulent payments when he went to sign on in Cavan.
While Peter Murray’s employer and his accountant were unable to provide official records, the employer signed a document to say he had been working four days a week from 2006 to 2010.
Peter Murray denied this, saying he worked just a day here and there.
Inspector Michael Cryan said he didn’t feel it was safe to contact Peter James Murray about the allegations, in case he tipped off his older brother Paul, who was being investigated for significant offences.
There was a further delay when Peter James Murray’s file languished in Dublin because officers and inspectors had been assigned to different cases.
The court heard there is a shortage of inspectors, an increased volume of work, and that vacancies have not been filled.
Peter Murray has paid back €1,981 following weekly deductions of €40 from his current social welfare payment. €4,663 remains outstanding but repayments are ongoing.
Judge Hughes took a single sample charge and imposed a fine of €500 and costs of €635, giving Murray four months to pay.
The other charges were taken into consideration.