Some PUP! Man who made €8,750 fake Covid claims to speed up repayments

March 10, 2023

A man who falsely claimed over €8,000 in Pandemic Unemployment Payments (PUP) has been warned to rethink his repayment plan.

Pawel Piechocki received the payments from October 30, 2020 and was caught when a Social Welfare inspector carried out a routine review in April, 2021 and discovered that he was employed.

Payments totalling €8,750 were paid to Piechocki. Upon finding that he was in employment, his claim was closed by the Social Welfare.

When making the claim, Piechocki had stated that he was last employed on October 23, 2020.

Piechocki, of The Garden, Ballymacool, Letterkenny, admitted the offence when spoken to, a Social Welfare inspector told Letterkenny District Court.

To date, €560 has been repaid and Piechocki is paying back €20 a week.

ON current repayments it will take Piechocki almost four years to pay back the cash.

Mr Kieran Dillon, the State Solicitor for Donegal, told the court that Piechocki has put in place a standing order for repayments and that the accused is employed at present.

Piechocki’s solicitor, Mr Patsy Gallagher, said his client is now earning €350 per week as a general operative.

Judge Éiteáin Cunningham said she was ‘not impressed at all at people taking advantage of a scheme the government put in place to help families who were in need’.

“He would need to rethink the payment plan,” Judge Cunningham said. “€20 a week will take a significant time to repay. As it stands, that doesn’t seem to be adequate.”

The case was adjourned until September 5, 2023.