Seventeen people arrested in investigation into alleged Covid-19 welfare fraud

Seventeen people have been arrested in a series of Garda raids targeting Dublin-based businesses suspected of welfare fraud linked to Covid-19 payments and immigration offenses.

Investigative teams, led by Garda but also including other state agencies, traveled to five companies in Dublin on Thursday for a pre-planned round of coordinated searches.

It is suspected that companies were employing foreign nationals in a way that violated immigration law and that payments available to those unemployed due to Covid-19 were also being fraudulently claimed.

The raids took place in Dublin city center and were carried out by the National Immigration Office in Garda, supported by the Gardaí at Mountjoy station. Staff from the Workplace Relations Commission, Department of Social Welfare and Revenue Commissioners were also part of the operation.

Gardaí said the five business premises “were raided with the aim of disrupting, eliminating and continuing this fraudulent activity”.

During the searches, nine men and eight women, aged 20 to 60, were arrested on suspicion of immigration offenses and 16 of them are due in court on November 18.

One of the arrested men, who is in his 50s, was due to appear in Dublin District Court on Friday under a pending arrest warrant, which predated Thursday’s search operation.

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