Details of fraud against schools revealed
on 14/10/2013 00:00:00
They are in addition to 19 unresolved irregularities in the education sector which were brought to the attention of the comptroller and auditor general last year.
The released files include a school in Leitrim that had €50,000 withdrawn from its account by a staff member.
A team of accountants was brought into to probe discrepancies discovered by the principal in Oct 2008.
The board of management notified the department in Mar 2009 and it met with the gardaí.
The person involved admitted full liability and agreed to repay the money, along with €4,000 to cover the accountancy costs. On this basis, the board decided not to press charges.
"The board did not wish to take proceedings against the individual, given that he admitted full liability and made retribution," the department said.
Another school in Dublin 4 was the victim of a suspected fraud in relation to cheques written from the board of management's accounts.
Gardaí were notified and an accountant was hired to assess how much money was at issue. Final details on the case are not available yet.
This is in addition to the case of Denis Connolly of St John's, Park Avenue, Sandymount, Dublin, who was bursar of St Michael's College, Dublin 4. He was charged with stealing €5,000 but died by suicide in 2011 on the morning he was due in court. There was no loss to the State but the total sum involved was believed to have been in excess of €200,000.
In another case, false claims of over €124,000 were made between 2002 and 2005 for substitute and part-time teachers; of this, €61,502 was drawn out at the school.
The department commissioned Galway accountants Duggan Tierney and Co to investigate. A report was prepared for the Garda bureau of fraud investigation.
However, the school agreed to repay the money at a rate of €21,000 a year.
In Nov 2007, another inquiry was triggered due to irregularities in payments for substitute and part-time teaching hours paid into a school bank account.
Elsewhere, the department revealed there were ongoing probes into suspected frauds in the online claims system and in the payment of the home tuition grant.
A man has been convicted of stealing €24,121 for making false claims under the online claims system.
John Fintan Brett, aged 67, of Cleveragh Rd, Sligo, pleaded guilty in February to making the claims.
The money was for hours that had not been worked.
The school's accounts secretary took redundancy and stood trial but was found not guilty after a judge ruled she had not profited.
The claims were made through the department's online claims system during a 14-month period starting in Mar 2008.