ONE beneficial spin-off of the Covid lockdowns was that a woman addicted to casino gambling managed to address her addiction while such premises were closed, her barrister said.
The woman’s addiction got so out of hand that she fraudulently claimed €37,500 in rent allowance to keep gambling.
Defence barrister, Nikki O’Sullivan, said at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that the accused was heavily addicted to gambling in casinos.
The barrister said there had been some benefit from Covid lockdowns in making it impossible for the accused to go to casinos, and the defendant weaning herself off gambling.
40-year-old Justyna Jozwiak of Convent Road, Doneraile, County Cork, previously pleaded guilty to the crime at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
Jozwiak admitted multiple charges of claiming social welfare payments to which she was not entitled in respect of paying rent on a house. She also confessed to theft charges amounting to a total of €37,500.
Garda Michael Nagle explained the background to the fraudulent claims made by the accused.
Between June and August 2019 she was receiving an emergency accommodation allowance to which she was genuinely entitled.
But then in August 2019 Cork County Council provided her with accommodation in Doneraile.
However, she continued to claim the emergency allowance after that – claiming a total of €35,700 despite having accommodation.
The offence involved her presenting forged invoices in furtherance of her false claims. The matter came to light when the department and the local authority realised that she was – on paper – living at two different addresses.
When challenged in relation to the matter she admitted creating invoices for rent she pretended to be paying and receiving cheques.
Garda Nagle said the accused was repaying the stolen money at a rate of just over €30 per week and that it would take just over 21 years to repay the money.
The €30 is being paid each week from other social welfare which she is now receiving legitimately in Job Seekers Allowance.
Judge Helen Boyle adjourned sentencing until June 29.