Seventeen people have been arrested in a series of Garda raids targeting Dublin-based businesses suspected of social welfare fraud linked to Covid-19 payments and immigration offences.
Teams of investigators, led by the Garda but also featuring other State agencies, moved in on five businesses in Dublin on Thursday for a pre-planned series of co-ordinated searches.
It is suspected the businesses were employing foreign nationals in a manner that breached immigration law and that payments available to people out of work due to Covid-19 were also being fraudulently claimed.
The raids took place in Dublin city centre and were led by the Garda National Immigration Bureau backed by gardaí from Mountjoy station. Personnel from the Workplace Relations Commission, Department of Social Protection and Revenue Commissioners were also part of the operation.
Gardaí said the five business premises “were searched with the aim of disrupting, eliminating and prosecuting this fraudulent activity”.
During the course of the searches nine men and eight women, aged 20s-60s, were arrested on suspicion of immigration offence and 16 of them are due before the courts on November 18th.
One of the men arrested, who is in his 50s, was scheduled to appear before Dublin District Court on Friday in connection with an outstanding bench warrant, which pre-dated Thursday's search operation.