Civil servant stole over €6,500 in fake jobseeker allowance under her brother’s name

Civil servant stole over €6,500 in fake jobseeker allowance under her brother’s name

By Isabel Hayes

A civil servant stole over €6,500 in fake jobseeker allowance claims under her brother's name, a Dublin court has heard.

Jacqueline Walsh, a mother-of-four, was brought to the attention of gardai by her brother, William Walsh, after he tried to make a Revenue claim and discovered false claims had been made under his name.

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Walsh (33), with an address in Millbrook Lawns, Tallaght, Dublin, pleaded guilty in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four counts of stealing money from the Department of Social Protection between October 2011 and May 2012. Eight other counts were taken into consideration.

She stole a total of €6736 over nine months while she was working in the Tallaght branch of the Dept of Social Protection, Detective Garda Colin Rochford told prosecution barrister, Karl Finnegan BL.

Walsh was working at the Department of Social Protection at the time and accessed details in relation to her brother's PPS number.

Det Gda Rochford said that three claims were made in the name of William Walsh under three different staff member’s user names within the department.

None of these usernames belonged to Jacqueline Walsh.

The court heard that a culture existed in the Tallaght office back in 2011 whereby computers were regularly left unlocked and employees could access each other’s usernames.

Walsh resigned from the department shortly before her offending came to light in 2015 and moved to a company.

When interviewed by gardai she said she did not have the expertise to carry out the claims, but admitted to receiving the money into her account.

This was refuted by her superior, who told gardai Walsh was competent at accessing the claims system.

Det Gda Rochford agreed with defence barrister Kieran Kelly BL, that gardai were unable to prove who carried out the claims.

The court heard Walsh, who is on bail, has no previous convictions save for some minor road traffic offences.

None of the stolen money was recovered.

Defence counsel said Walsh has four young children, including two with health issues.

She is currently on maternity leave and is receiving state maternity benefit.

Her partner is a full-time carer for his father and receives a carers’ allowance.

They struggle financially and are currently in arrears on their mortgage, the court heard.

Mr Kelly said Walsh was remorseful for her actions.

“Ordinarily, she is a good person and she wants to move forward,” he said.

Judge Karen O’Connor ordered a probation report and adjourned the matter for sentencing on December 6.

“This is a difficult case,” the judge noted, adding Walsh had carried out a “significant breach of trust”.