61-year-old benefit fraudster 'very close' to jail sentence
A 61-year-old man escaped an immediate jail sentence when he admitted dishonestly obtaining almost £4,000 in Social Security benefits while receiving a pension from the Republic of Ireland.
Edward McCaffrey, of Cloncallick, Newtownbutler, claimed to have consulted a solicitor in Cavan who told him he didn't have to declare the pension.
He was sentenced to three months in prison, suspended for two years.
District Judge Liam McNally told him he had come "very close" to being sent straight to jail and the only thing saving him was his clear record, admission of guilt and, "most importantly", he had entered into an agreement to repay the money.
McCaffrey pleaded guilty to two charges of making false declarations to dishonestly obtain Income Support and two charges of failing to declare a change in his circumstances when claiming Income Support and Housing Benefit.
The offences were committed between July 7, 2005, and July 26, 2011.
A prosecutor told the court that McCaffrey hadn't declared that he was receiving a pension from the Republic of Ireland and as a result had been paid £1,499 in Income Support and £1,833 in Housing Benefit to which he was not entitled.
Defence solicitor Myles McManus said McCaffrey had consulted a solicitor in Cavan and been advised he didn't have to declare the pension.
The District Judge said: "I don't believe that was the advice from the solicitor in Cavan at all."
Mr. McManus said McCaffrey was in receipt of Disabled Living Allowance and Incapacity Benefit. He had entered into an arrangement to repay the money he had dishonestly obtained but still owed £850 in Income Support and £1,300 in Housing Benefit.