News

Centrelink cheat in court for $12,000 fraud

Michael John Neal outside Ipswich Magistrates Court.
Michael John Neal outside Ipswich Magistrates Court. Inga Williams

A LOWOOD man claimed more than $12,000 in government benefits he was not entitled to because he said he didn't have enough money to pay his bills.

At Ipswich Magistrates Court last week, Michael John Neal pleaded guilty to three counts of obtaining financial advantage for self.

Commonwealth prosecutor Siobhan Stoddart said Neal had been under-declaring his income for about 18 months.

The 53-year-old had successfully applied for Newstart Allowance on January 13, 2010, on the basis he was unemployed.

However Neal had already found paid work at Fernvale Landscape Supplies about five days earlier.

For the next 39 fortnights, Ms Stoddart said Neal intentionally filed false declarations to claim benefits he wasn't eligible for. As a result he was overpaid $12,724.21

Ms Stoddart said Neal's gross income during the offending period had been calculated at $48,639.66.

The discrepancies were uncovered by data matching between Centrelink and the Australian Taxation Office.

Defence lawyer Yassar Khan said Neal's offending had been motivated "by need rather than greed."

Mr Khan said his client had been enduring financial struggles and used the falsely claimed benefits to help pay his bills.

He said Neal's partner had died in 2010, which had a negative effect on his client's mental attitude.

Ms Stoddart said Neal had started to pay back the money by withholding income from his social security benefits.

He has so far repaid $130.87.

Ms Stoddart said it was important to deter people from committing the same crime, because it was easy to do and involved a system that relied on honesty.

Magistrate Virginia Sturgess said Australia's social security system was there to help genuine people in need.

"There isn't an unlimited pool of money, the financial support is contributed from your fellow community members," she told Neal.

"Each dollar you take is a dollar less for those in genuine need."

Neal was sentenced to complete 200 hours of community service.

Topics:  centrelink editors picks ipswich magistrates court



How to survive a bushfire in your car

IT SOUNDS like a nightmare, but it can happen.

Eight reasons to join the RFS

SPREAD across 93% of Queensland, the Rural Fire Service has about 36,000 volunteers. And you could be one of them.

What if my insurer gives me grief?

CLAIMING your insurance cover after a natural disaster can go one of two ways. It can be a breeze, or like pulling teeth.

The newest centurion...and it's not Steve Smith!

TON UP: Cr Paul Tully, Cr Cheryl Bromage and Robert Dow of Goodna celebrate Ipswich's 100th set of traffic lights on the corner of Albert and Alice Street, Goodna.

Ipswich's 100th set of traffic lights a turn-on in many ways

'Devastating': Ipswich farmers' markets cancelled

2015 image of the Ipswich Mall, showing what was the intersection of Nicholas Street and Union Place and the location of the T.C.Beirne building.
Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

Drought affected farmers kicked out of mall

Heatwave to continue for days as temps top 40 in some areas

Beachgoers cool down at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast. Temperatures have hit 46 degrees Celsius in parts of outback Queensland today, with a heatwave predicted for the state's central and southern regions.(AAP Image/Dan Peled)

Outback towns scorching under the Friday afternoon sun

Local Partners

FLOOD RISK: Mayors launch plan to protect $260M industry

A COMPREHENSIVE plan to deal with the flood risk to rivers and lakes in the Lockyer Valley has been launched.


Five things to do this weekend

Renee Schulz, Brad Baxter, Elizabeth Mills and Nathan Schulz prepare for the Marburg Church of Christ Christmas Carols.
Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

Your guide to what's on in Ipswich

Your gig guide to a great night out in Ipswich

Atmosphere Band are playing at Brothers Leagues Club.

Here's the latest on the live music scene in the city

Diverse influences key for Young Franco

Brisbane producer Young Franco is touring with UV boi in January

Emerge's Calen Le Couteur recently caught up with Young Franco

Ricky Gervais announces first dates of world tour

Ricky Gervais has announced his first world tour in seven years.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in 'final stages' of divorce

Depp's outstanding divorce money to be paid over 15 months

Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher welcome their second child

Mila Kunis won't be naming her second child 'Hawkeye'

First look at Russell Crowe and Tom Cruise in The Mummy

Russell Crowe in a scene from the first teaser trailer for the movie The Mummy.

HOLLYWOOD heavyweights helm serious reboot of action franchise.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Fame is 'unhealthy'

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Joseph Gordon-Levitt feels bad perpetuating celebrity culture

Man who played Manuel in Fawlty Towers has died, aged 86

Manuel from the comedy hit Fawlty Tours, has died aged 86

New 1200-seat Mormon church to open in Ipswich

COMMUNITY: Barbara MacDonald of Springfield Lakes with her children from left, Jacob, 6, Charlotte, 2, Joseph, 4, Emily, 9, and Lachlan, 8, outside the newly built Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at Augustine Heights.

One of Australia's largest Mormon churches will open this month

REVEALED: 25 of Ipswich's cheapest houses

8 Trumper St, East Ipswich, Offers above $230,000.

Old and neglected homes in hot demand with renovators

Coast high-flyer's fight back from bankruptcy, $72m debt

Scott Juniper went from millionaire developer to declaring bankruptcy in2012, now he is back on top of his game again with new developments including this one in Coolum.

'Apocalyptic lending storm' causes financial collapse.

How your home can earn you big $$$$ this Christmas

This luxury Twin Waters home rents out over Christmas for more than $6000 a week.

Home owners earning thousands renting out their homes this Christmas

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!