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Former Thurles Resident Guilty Of Welfare Fraud.

Social-ProtectionMr David Church, a married father-of-four, who used false identifications to fraudulently claim almost half a million Euro (€478.000) in social welfare payments over the past 12 years, has received a 5 year prison sentence at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today.

Mr Church, with an address at Parnell Street, Dublin 1, who formerly resided at Monadreen, Thurles, Co Tipperary, had faced 199 charges of unlawfully claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance and Rent Allowance from various post offices in the Dublin area, between September 2002 and July 2013.

Mr Church had admitted acquired unlawfully €478,052 from the State, which Judge Martin Nolan confirmed as averaging some €40,000 a year over the period for which his offences took place. The court heard that Mr Church had drunk or gambled most of the money and had no substantial wealth accumulated, when first arrested in July 2013.

The fraudulent offences came to light following the Department of Social Protection’s use of facial recognition software, which had established that the same photo was being used on six other social welfare identities. Investigating Detective Garda Colin Rochford stated that Mr Church had created these false identities by travelling to a Manchester Records Office to obtain birth certificates and for which he had paid £10 in each case.

This facial recognition software had identified four people as having the same photograph, while using the names of Adam Cole, Paul Anthony O’Brien, Derek O’Brien and Darren O’Brien, who were all claiming Social Welfare payments from at least two Dublin post office outlets.

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