A French music teacher who fraudulently claimed welfare payments while living in a penthouse apartment has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail.

Daniel Daudet, 40, from Spencer Dock in Dublin, fraudulently claimed a total of €175,000 in unemployment benefit and other payments over a 12-year period.

Judge Melanie Greally said he was taking taxpayers' money to part fund a lifestyle and level of comfort which he could not afford.

She said his crimes had all the elements of a "systematic and significant fraud".

The aggravating factors were the considerable period of time over which he carried out the fraud, the substantial amount of money involved and the significant and sustained dishonesty in maintaining a dual identity and falsifying and submitting false documents.

Investigators from the Department of Social Protection said it was important to remember that the majority of people claiming welfare were doing so legitimately.

However, Philip Cox of the Special Investigations Unit said a number of cases of welfare fraud had come before the courts in recent times and all had resulted in a custodial sentence. He said the current case illustrated that fraud will be detected.

Last week, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Daudet was living in an apartment costing €3,000 a month in rent when gardaí searched his home and found forged identity documents.

The court was told he applied for a PPS number under the name of Alexandre Daude, his middle name and a version of his surname, in July 2002.

He continued to use that PPS number to claim unemployment assistance which later became Jobseeker's Allowance.

He also claimed rent allowance, back to education allowance and supplementary welfare benefit.

During this time he completed a degree in music on a Back to Education scheme and went on to become a music teacher.

The court heard he was earning a salary as a music teacher under his own name, while also claiming benefits under his other identity.

Bank statements over the years showed he lodged various amounts to two bank accounts. The amounts lodged each year ranged from €9,000 to €54,000 between 2002 and 2015.

At a trial last year a jury found him guilty on a number of charges and failed to agree on others.

The court was told he was paid a total of €175,000 through the fraudulent claims on which he was convicted. He has repaid €7,300 to date at €100 per week. He has been in custody since last year.

Social welfare officers began investigating Daudet in 2015. An officer Googled Alexandre Daude a music teacher and discovered that no such person existed. However, she discovered a LinkedIn profile of Daniel Daudet and compared the photographs.

It was later discovered that Daudet had copied and altered a French national identity card to assume the name Alexandre Daude and used it and other forged documents to secure a PPS number.

He had photocopied the card and used Tipp-Ex to change the name. He had also changed the name on a DCU certificate and a rent agreement.

The court heard the rent allowance was paid for a number of different addresses. Daudet said he had a key to a letterbox in one of the premises and would collect the post from it.

From 2002 to 2013 he used his own identity to work in various jobs and also entered a civil partnership during that time and subsequently married his partner with whom he was living in the Spencer Dock penthouse.