Tralee woman who claimed dead son’s disability allowance avoids jail

A mother of five who claimed almost €8,000 is disability allowance on behalf of her dead son has received a suspended prison sentence.

Jeananne McCarthy of 29 Cois Coille, Tralee was before Tralee Circuit Criminal Court for sentencing on 25 theft charges between December 3rd, 2014 and May 27th,  2015.

Her teenage son, Dylan, had been killed in a car accident in Glenflesk two months before the first deception occurred.

In what he described as both a tragic and a bizarre case, Judge Tom O’Donnell said a fraud of this nature was a fraud of all tax payers.

The court heard the accused’s son, Dylan, had been granted disability allowance of €188 per week, prior to his death at the age of 16.

On November 25th,  2014 his mother went to the Bank of Ireland in Tralee with ‘an unidentified young person’ whom she claimed was her deceased son Dylan and opened a bank account in his name.

The Department of Social Protection received a letter, purporting to be from Dylan McCarthy, which directed future disability payments should be made into the account.

The court heard almost €8,000 (€7,940.80) was paid into the account between December 2014 and May 2015.

On May 26th, 2015 the Department of Social Protection received a phone call claiming Dylan McCarthy had moved to Australia.

On investigation, the Department learned Dylan McCarthy was in fact deceased and payments were stopped.

Withdrawals made from the account, include payments for groceries, a hair salon and Sky TV

The court heard the 44-year-old had reached an early agreement with the Department and was paying back the money at a rate of €50 per week, deducted from her social welfare payments.

The judge noted her explanation was that the funeral was expensive but the bank records reflected other matters.

He imposed 18-month sentences for the first three counts, to run concurrently, and took the other charges into consideration.

He suspended the sentence for 18 months.