Woman claimed over €35,000 in emergency payments despite Cork local authority giving her a home

Mother of three Justyna Jozwiak of Convent Road, Doneraile, Co Cork, pleaded guilty to multiple charges of claiming social welfare payments to which she was not entitled
Woman claimed over €35,000 in emergency payments despite Cork local authority giving her a home

Olivia Kelleher

A woman who fraudulently claimed €35,700 in emergency social welfare payments for accommodation in spite of having been given a place to live in Doneraile, Co Cork by the local authority has been remanded in custody until next month to allow a Judge time to consider her sentence.

Mother of three Justyna Jozwiak of Convent Road, Doneraile, Co Cork, pleaded guilty to 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 involving the fraudulent claiming of €35,700. She has paid €3,000 in compensation.

The Polish national has very little English and required the presence of an interpreter on Wednesday and in previous court appearances.

When previously hearing the details of the case Judge Sean O’Donnabhain asked how a person managed to claim money from the Department of Social Welfare if they had no command of the English language.

"If the department are prepared to lash out money to someone who does not — or pretends not to speak the lingo, it is an invitation to be scalped."

On Wednesday at Cork Circuit Criminal Court Judge Helen Boyle directed that Ms Jozwiak be remanded in custody until November 24th to allow her to consider her position on sentencing in the case.

Defence barrister Nikki O’Sullivan said that if her client is jailed will lead to family difficulties as she is a single parent. Ms O’Sullivan said a prison sentence could also potentially cause problems for the HAP payments of her dependents as she is the named person in the family home.

She said that Covid was beneficial to her client who suffers from a gambling addiction. She stated that Ms Jozwiak had to "go cold turkey" in relation to gambling during the pandemic as the casinos she frequented were closed.

Judge Boyle said that whilst Ms Jozwiak was initially entitled to the social welfare payments for accommodation she had employed an “element of deception” in claiming payments after the local authority supplied her with a home.

"She was originally homeless and entitled to claim. But then she forged invoices. That system has since been tightened up."

Judge Boyle said she needed time to consider the case. She remanded Jozwiak in custody until her sentencing on November 24th.

Meanwhile, Garda Michael Nagle previously outlined the background to the fraudulent claims made by the Ms Jozwiak.

The court heard that between June and August 2019 Jozwiak was in receipt of an emergency accommodation allowance to which she was genuinely entitled.

In August 2019, Cork County Council gave her accommodation in Doneraile. However, she continued to claim the emergency allowance although she had accommodation. She claimed a total of €35,700 despite having accommodation.

The offence involved her presenting forged invoices. The offending behaviour came to the attention when the local authority realised she was on paper living at two different addresses.

Ms Jozwiak admitted creating fraudulent invoices and receiving cheques.

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