A woman who pretended to be her mother sent almost €5,000 in social welfare payments to Kazakhstan.
The woman appeared at Letterkenny District Court where it was heard the 24-year-old collected the payments at Letterkenny Post Office.
A clerk at the post office became suspicious when a woman, who was wearing a burka, collected a social welfare payment.
The court heard that overall the accused had sent €4,600 to a person of the same name in Kazakhstan via Western Union.
When questioned, Malaz Hibr, of Chestnut Grove, Letterkenny, made admissions to Gardaí when they arrived at the post office.
Sergeant Jim Collins said that Hibr was claiming the benefits on behalf of her mother, Mashaier Idris, in Kazakhstan.
During two separate periods in 2019 and 2020, a total of €4,634 was claimed.
Detective Garda Lynch instructed that all payments had been fully reimbursed and there was no loss to the Department of Social Welfare.
Hibr had no previous convictions, the court heard.
Solicitor for Hibr, Ms Maureen Gallagher, said her client was a 24-year-old who lived with her mother and young siblings.
“Her mother traveled with another daughter when going for college and the mother got held in Sudan,” Ms Gallagher said. “My client was at home with her young brother and a cousin, who are aged 16 and 4. They were on their own and had no other means.
“Her mother contacted and asked to collect money. She didn’t know that collecting the money was illegal.
“She held her hands up straight away, she was fully co-operative and paid it back in full.”
Judge Éiteáin Cunningham called the matter ‘quite significant’. Judge Cunningham convicted Hibr and fined her €750, giving five months to pay.