Tallaght resident earned €136k while claiming €26k allowance

Tallaght resident earned €136k while claiming €26k allowance

By Sonya McClean

A father of four who falsely claimed jobseekers allowance for two years despite earning over €136,000 delivering leaflets during that time has been given an 18-month suspended sentence.

Jerry Sangola Mbumbi (40) began working as a contractor with a publicity mailing group in June 2013 and over the following two years submitted invoices totalling €136,338 for completed work. Over the same time he received more than €26,000 in jobseekers allowance.

Criminal Courts of Justice

Mbumbi, of Ard Mor Drive, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to making a false declaration and failing to notify the Minister for Social Protection of the change in his circumstances on dates between June 27, 2013 and May 19, 2014. He has no previous convictions.

Judge Karen O’Connor accepted that there was evidence to suggest that Mbumbi would have paid other people to help him deliver the leaflets and the full €136,000 “was not available to him”.

She further accepted that he had no previous convictions and had a system in place to repay the money before she suspended a sentence of 18 months on strict conditions.

Social Welfare Inspector Richie Geoghegan told Anne Rowland BL, prosecuting, that between May 2013 and May 2015 Mbumbi received €26,803 in jobseekers allowance after filing declaration forms that he was unemployed.

Insp Geoghegan said he met with the general manager of the mailing company in May 2015 who provided him with a list of their registered contractors.

Mbumbi was one of these independently self employed contractors and had provided the company with his name, address, date of birth and social welfare number.

He was interviewed in September 2015 and confirmed that he was in receipt of jobseekers allowance, but denied that he was working. He later accepted that he “sometimes does leaflet drops” but claimed he would get thousands of leaflets so he would pay 15 to 20 people to help him out.

Insp Geoghegan said Mbumbi has since started to reimburse the State and is paying back €25 per week. He has paid back €1,095 to date.

George Burns BL, defending told Judge O’Connor that his client came to Ireland from his native Congo 15 years ago. He is an Irish citizen now.

He said Mbumbi was aware that he “made a very foolish mistake”, but submitted that while a lot of money was gained through his leaflet delivery service, he was not the main beneficiary, having paid others to help him.

Mr Burns said Mbumbi was now in long-term employment and supporting his family.

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