A man who claimed social welfare payments while having €173,840 in his bank account has been ordered to pay a donation of €500 to St Vincent de Paul.
Peter Carton appeared at Falcarragh District Court charged with seven offences relating to defrauding the Department of Social Protection.
Inspector Mary Joe McGovern from the Department of Social Protection told the court that Carton had claimed a total of €28,594 in social welfare payments between 2009 and 2016.
In 2011 he was interviewed by officers from the Department of Social Protection and asked if he had any savings.
Carton, of Station Road, Falcarragh, revealed he had a little more than €1,000 in a bank account and some other money in a local credit union account.
However, he failed to disclose that he had the sum of more than €173,000 in savings in another bank account.
Solicitor for the accused, Mr Cormac Hartnett, said his client genuinely didn’t believe he had to disclose the savings to the Department.
“When approached he was utterly compliant. He seemed to have a bizarre but genuine belief that he didn’t need to declare this sum of money,” said Mr Hartnett.
However, Judge Paul Kelly asked Inspector McGovern if Mr Carton would have been aware that he needed to declare the money and she said he had been asked such questions in interview.
Judge Kelly said that it appeared Mr Carton was concealing the cash adding “He forgot to mention this very large sum of money sitting in a bank.”
The court was told that all the cash claimed illegally has since been repaid and that Carton admitted to receiving payments of Jobseeker’s Allowance, while failing to disclose full details in relation to all his bank accounts.
Judge Kelly asked how much of the €173,840 in savings did Mr Carton have left.
Solicitor Hartnett said there was approximately €6,000 of this money left as his client had since bought a house.
Judge Kelly ordered father-of-two Carton to pay €500 to St Vincent de Paul and applied the Probation Act.