The case is one of the most serious incidences of fraud that has been detected in many years. It was the inspectors and seconded Gardaí in my Department who secured this prosecution following an extensive investigation.
My Department uses a range of measures to ensure that fraud is identified, prevented, and minimised. Where it is established that a fraud has occurred, such as in this case, they are pursued in a variety of ways, including by prosecutions through the Courts and recovery of any sums overpaid. In the case referred to I welcome the sentence imposed by the court which will act as a deterrent to others who may deliberately provide false information, fabricate facts or documents, or consistently mislead my Department over a prolonged period.
I would emphasise that my Department has control review processes in place on its state pension schemes which are designed to detect fraudulent encashments. Deaths registered are also monitored with the General Register Office, which is now part of my Department.
My Department regularly reviews the control measures in place across its schemes and continues to improve its control measures based both on the types of fraud and attempted fraud cases detected and using business analytics to inform its control measures. These control processes are subject to regular audits, including by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General, and are considered to be fit for purpose.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.