A taxi driver who stole more than 345,000 euros in social assistance over 12 years has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
Ohamed Saleh Zayed, 72, of Rehoboth Avenue, South Circular Road, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud and six counts of deception between March 2003 and November 2015.
At its sentencing hearing today, the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Zayed had used a second PPS number to fraudulently claim welfare payments for disability, rent and dietary allowance.
During this time he worked as a taxi driver and as such was not entitled to social assistance.
Judge Melanie Greally found that Zayed had repaid a significant amount of the funds and had an ongoing agreement to reduce the loss to the state, currently estimated at €159,118.
She said that after Gardaí learned that Zayed had accumulated large sums of money in various bank accounts, he was arrested and fully cooperated with the Garda investigation.
The court heard Zayed admit to making fraudulent claims and expressed remorse and a willingness to pay back the money.
Judge Greally said there was “very substantial dishonesty” related to fraudulent claims under multiple headings representing significant sums of money over a very long period of time.
She also noted that there was “no particular financial pressure or need” for Zayed to make the fraudulent claims.
The court heard that Zayed is a Libyan national who has lived in Ireland since the 1980s and has a number of serious health conditions, including oral cancer and a history of diabetes.
At a previous court hearing, Garda Ian Abbey of the Department for Social Protection’s Special Investigations Unit said the use of facial recognition helped uncover the offences.
Judge Greally said that barring that class of insults, Zayed was a respectable, hard-working person and a good family man who was supportive of his wife and children.
She ordered Zayed to behave decently for 12 months after his release and recommended that he be transferred to a low-security prison, per his request.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/taxi-driver-72-who-fraudulently-claimed-345000-social-welfare-over-12-years-is-jailed-41631522.html Taxi driver (72), who has fraudulently claimed 345,000 euros in social assistance for over 12 years, is arrested