Man jailed for fraudulently receiving severe disability benefit

The accused was jailed due to the fact that he was on probation for a separate crime, making him the first fraudulent benefactor of the disability benefits scandal to be jailed

A man who fraudulently claimed €18,000 in disability benefits has been jailed, becoming the first beneficiary of the recent benefits fraud scandal to be sentenced to imprisonment for this offence.

46-year-old Brian Aber admitted to having received the sum from the Department of Social Security over a four and a half year period between 2019 and 2023.

Aber pleaded guilty to charges of fraud, recidivism, using falsified documents and breaching probation. The court was told that the man had since signed an agreement with the Department of Social Security in order to repay the amount he had fraudulently claimed, and had already returned around €2,000.

Handing down judgement on Tuesday, Magistrate Rachel Montebello observed that the fraud had been committed “repeatedly and systematically” over those four and a half years, and sentenced the man to imprisonment for two years.

Whilst acknowledging that Aber needed help to address issues arising from a failed relationship, the court said that it could not simply sentence him to community service, in view of the fact that he had continued to commit fraud whilst on probation.

Defence lawyer Jose Herrera gave leave to appeal the man’s prison sentence. 

Although the police had questioned family doctor and former Labour MP Silvio Grixti, whose name continuously crops up in benefits fraud cases, he has not been charged with any offence to date. Grixti had stepped down in 2020 after the police investigation, which only became public knowledge last year.