Woman jailed for rent relief fraud

ireland
Judge Sheahan sentenced McManus to 18 months imprisonment, but suspended the final six months on strict conditions. Photo: File image
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Brion Hoban

A woman has been jailed for a rent relief fraud which has left her owing over €73,000 to Revenue.

Tracey McManus (47) submitted a claim for rent relief for an address she was not living in at the time during “an orchestrated and premeditated campaign dedicated to her own enrichment”, a court has heard.

She also submitted false receipts to Revenue for medical and dental treatments she had not in fact undergone.

McManus of Finglas Road, Finglas, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two sample counts of claiming relief from income tax which she was not entitled to on December 4th, 2009 and on February 9th, 2012.

She also pleaded guilty to two sample counts of producing an incorrect receipt to Revenue on April 12, 2012. She has no previous convictions.

Revenue Inspector Bernadette Dorigan told Fergal Foley BL, prosecuting, that McManus came to the attention of Revenue following a random spot check of another person with a connection to the accused.

Medical expenses

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Inspector Dorigan said in 2012 McManus received tax relief following her submitting a claim based on medical expenses of over €5,000. Investigations revealed that these medical expenses were never incurred by McManus.

McManus submitted false receipts which showed her having paid €12,000 for IVF treatment and €4,700 for dental treatment. It was later proved that she had not undergone either treatment.

She also submitted a claim for rent relief, falsely claiming that she had resided at an address between 2005 and 2008. She also submitted a legitimate claim for rent relief for 2009 when she was in fact living at the address.

McManus received a total excess payment from Revenue of €7,432.27. Factoring in penalties and interest, McManus owes approximately €73,300 to the state.

Katherine McGillicuddy BL, defending, submitted that her client was in a “borderline region” of intellectual range. She said her client suffered from “paranoid ideation”.

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Counsel said “there is no balance” in her client's bank account. She said McManus had €100 in court and would undertake to make weekly repayments in the future.

Judge Elma Sheahan said it was “ridiculous” for McManus to come before the court with €100 when she had pleaded guilty 11 months ago. She said that had McManus put away “the cost of a cup of coffee” every day, she would have now have a sum before the court.

Judge Sheahan noted that the sum owed remains outstanding “in its totality”. She described the accused's offending as “an orchestrated and premeditated campaign dedicated to her own enrichment”.

She sentenced McManus to 18 months imprisonment, but suspended the final six months on strict conditions.

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