A woman who claimed sickness benefit while working as a cleaner was fined €2,250 at Athy District Court on Tuesday, October 23.
Marina Bulatnikova (58) with an address listed as 4 St Dominic's Park, Athy came to the attention of gardai on May 18, 2015 for obtaining payment for illness benefit while working on 17,May 2015, 13 August 2015 and 8 August 2016. The court heard that the total benefit paid to the defendant during that time was €4,517.20.
"How was it detected?" judge Zaidan asked.
He was told that the employer said that the defendant was working. The court heard the defendant was interrogated and admitted it. She has no previous convictions and pleaded guilty. Her solicitor Frank Taaffe handed in a medical cert on behalf of his client to the court.
"She was genuinely on sick leave," he said. "She is a single woman who found it hard to pay her rent so she went back to work for two days a week. She earns €350 a week and draws €62 from social a week. She is a lady with a genuine health problem who couldn't pay her rent at €400 a month. Out of desperation she went back to work for two days a week."
The court heard that the defendant has been making repayments albeit at a very slow pace. She has been living and working here for 14 years.
She was given 24 weeks to pay the fine in installments.