Eoghan Murphy
Eoghan Murphy

06.00 24 Jan 2020


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The Department of Social Protection launched nearly 10,600 investigations into suspected welfare fraud last year.

The state also recovered more than €82 million in social welfare payments in 2019.

According to figures released to Newstalk, the department received nearly 14,700 reports of social welfare fraud last year.

After these allegations were filtered, 10,590 were referred for investigation.

114 cases were referred to the Chief State Solicitors Office for criminal prosecution - a 13% increase on the year before.

77 of these cases related to Jobseeker's Allowance.

A separate 98 criminal cases were finalised in court - with 85 people convicted, two of whom were jailed.

Jason O'Sullivan, the principal and founder of J.O.S Solicitors, explained that investigations into social welfare fraud are complicated.

He said: "They have to do a lot of due diligence and investigating.

"They have to first look at the circumstances of the individual case, the nature of the alleged offence, and also they'd have to appraise the evidence available.

"At that stage, they'd have to look at the duration of the fraud or the abuse, the size of the overpayment, and also if there are any mitigating or aggravating circumstances related to it."

The Department also recovered more than €82 million in payments from over 100,000 social welfare recipients last year.

Main image: File photo of Department of Social Protection office in Dublin. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

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