White collar crime: An easy thing in Ireland

A 47 year old man, Terence Maughan, has been jailed for one year for defrauding the state of €14,000 in dole payments.

Maughan, a father of six with no previous convictions, committed his crimes between 2008 and 2010.

State enforcement authorities left no stone unturned in their efforts to bring this man to justice.

An alert social welfare inspector noticed something suspicious and after confirming his suspicions by checking some CCTV footage he immediately called in the Gardai to assist in indentifying the culprit.

A joint Garda/Social Welfare surveillance operation was set up which resulted in the apprehension of the fraudster.

As I say, no stone left unturned. There followed prosecution, a court appearance and jail.

The presiding judge was in no doubt about the seriousness of the crime.

The court has a responsibility to deter others from embarking on the same crime.

Meanwhile, those responsible for the theft of €66 million in the Custom House Capital fraud are still walking around enjoying the same freedoms and privileges as law abiding citizens.

This multi-million Euro fraud came to light around the same time as state authorities were tracking down Mr. Maughan but, unlike Mr. Maughan’s case, there was no effective response by state authorities.

It is now four months since a High Court judge ordered all reports on the CHC fraud be sent to the Director of Corporate Enforcement, the DPP, the Garda Commissioner and Revenue.

Since then – Silence.

The judge who sentenced Mr. Maughan commented that:

Welfare fraud was an easy thing to do until now.

We can see from the CHC case and many other similar cases that white collar crime has always been and remains an easy thing in Ireland.