$30,543 Centrelink fraud lands woman with jail sentence
RELIEVED, Alicia Riley walked from Gladstone Courthouse with family, friends and her conditional freedom after being convicted and jailed for a $30,000 Commonwealth parenting fraud.
The child educator, 41, pleaded guilty in Gladstone Magistrates Court after fraudulently claiming single-parenting payments of $30,543 between September 2009 and November 2013.
Federal prosecutor Susan Miles said "active deceit is involved" as Riley misrepresented her true income, under-declaring it by 41%, which warranted a custodial sentence.
The offences involved 110 fortnightly payments.
The court heard that in a department interview Riley said she was estimating her income to Centrelink as she "didn't think it would make much difference".
"And (she) just assumed she was reporting it correctly," Ms Miles said.
Magistrate Melanie Ho sentenced Riley to 12 months jail, with immediate release, subject to a three-year good-behaviour order.
Ms Ho said a prison term was warranted but accepted Riley "miscalculated" her earnings. And, in her favour, she was already repaying the monies, she said.
Ms Miles submitted Riley had received single-parenting payments to which she had partial entitlement only as she significantly under-declared her earnings through misrepresentation to Centrelink.
Ms Miles said Riley had been employed by ABC Learning Centres and, while she earned more than $136,000 gross, she declared just $56,503, resulting in her being overpaid by $30,543.