Cunning flood grant cheat in court for offences

A FLOOD grant cheat has been branded cunning for deliberately targeting three different shelters over three days to receive more than $2500 he was not to entitled to.

Ipswich Magistrates Court heard Matatia Segi, 37, was living at Dinmore when the deluge hit and was entitled to a one-off Emergency Assistance Grant of $800 for his household.

Segi and his family were eligible for one hand-out but on February 8 last year Segi applied for the grant at a Bundamba shelter and signed a declaration saying his family hadn't received any assistance. However his wife had already claimed their payment in January. On February 10 and February 11, Segi claimed a further $1700 he wasn't entitled to.

Prosecutor Senior Constable Brad Dick said Segi's actions threatened the public's good will in donating for future disasters.

"These payments were made for a reason to people in genuine need," Snr Const Dick said. "This offence undermines public confidence and threatens public good will."

Segi pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud and was ordered to perform 200 hours of unpaid community service. He must pay $2550 restitution to the Queensland Government.

Magistrate Virginia Sturgess said stealing hard-earned money off fellow community members would have "long and dire consequences".

"This is a terrible insult and lack of respect to your fellow community members," Ms Sturgess said. Ms Sturgess said the actions of Segi and those who ripped off emergency relief funds would affect victims in the future.

"People won't donate money in the future because they'll think it will go to criminals," she said.

His wife, Tilly Moli-Segi, pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud committed between January 27 and February 2. Her case was adjourned until December 3.

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