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27 Jun 2022

Woman convicted after sending €4,600 in social welfare to mother in Kazakhstan

The woman was convicted at Letterkenny District Court

Court gavel

A woman who transferred over €4,600 in social welfare payments to her mother in Kazakhstan has been convicted in a Donegal Court.

Letterkenny District Court heard that a clerk at Letterkenny Post Office became suspicious when a woman, who was wearing a burka, collected a social welfare payment before sending the money to a person of the same name in Kazakhstan via Western Union.

When questioned, Malaz Hibr, a 24-year-old with an address at Chestnut Grove, Letterkenny, made admissions to Gardaí when they arrived at the post office.

Sergeant Jim Collins said that Hibr was claiming the benefits on behalf of her mother, Mashaier Idris, in Kazakhstan.

During two separate periods in 2019 and 2020, a total of €4,634 was claimed.

Detective Garda Lynch instructed that all payments had been fully reimbursed and there was no loss to the Department of Social Welfare.

Hibr had no previous convictions, the court heard.

Solicitor for Hibr, Ms Maureen Gallagher, said her client was a 24-year-old who lived with her mother and young siblings.

“Her mother traveled with another daughter when going for college and the mother got held in Sudan,” Ms Gallagher said. “My client was at home with her young brother and a cousin, who are aged 16 and 4. They were on their own and had no other means.

“Her mother contacted and asked to collect money. She didn’t know that collecting the money was illegal.

“She held her hands up straight away, she was fully co-operative and paid it back in full.”

Judge Éiteáin Cunningham called the matter as ‘quite significant’. Judge Cunningham convicted Hibr and fined her €750, giving five months to pay.

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