A taxi driver who fraudulently claimed more than €345,000 in social welfare payments over the course of 12 years has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
Mohamed Saleh Zayed (72), of Rehoboth Avenue, South Circular Road, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud and six counts of deception for dates between March 2003 and November 2015.
At his sentencing hearing today, the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Zayed used another PPS number to fraudulently claim social welfare payments for disability, rent and dietary allowances.
He was working as a taxi-driver during this period and as such was not entitled to social welfare.
Judge Melanie Greeley noted that Zayed had paid a large sum of money and made a continuing arrangement to reduce the damage to the state, which currently stands at €159,118.
She said that when Gardai learned that Zayed was depositing large amounts of capital in various bank accounts, he was arrested and Gardai cooperated fully with the investigation.
The court heard that Zayed admitted to making fraudulent claims and expressed remorse and willingness to repay the money.
Judge Greeley said there was “very significant dishonesty” associated with making fraudulent claims under multiple headings, which represent significant sums of money over a very long period of time.
She also noted that Zayed had “no particular financial pressure or need” to make the fraudulent claims.
The court heard that Zayed is a Libyan citizen who has been in Ireland since the 1980s and has a number of serious health problems, including a history of oral cancer and diabetes.
In a previous court hearing, Garda Ian Abbey of the Department of Social Security’s Special Investigations Unit said the use of facial recognition contributed to the detection of crimes.
Judge Greeley said that apart from being an insult to this class, Zayed was a respected, hardworking man and a good family man who supported his wife and children.
He ordered Zayed good behavior for 12 months after his release and recommended that he be kept in a low-security prison as requested by him.