Centrelink Fraud Charges
The client was charged under section 134.2 – obtaining a financial advantage by deception. If found guilty, the maximum penalty was 10 years imprisonment and or significant financial penalty. This particular client was charged with Centrelink fraud on the basis of under-reporting income over a 4 year period, a serious example of the offence. For more information on centrelink fraud.
The client was working casually while receiving Centrelink benefits. He then obtained a second casual job but only reported his earnings for his first job.
The client expressed a significant amount of remorse in relation to the charges. He understood that he would need to repay the extra entitlements he had received and a payment plan was developed.
At Court, we made submissions in relation to the client’s personal circumstances – in particular that he was studying to be a nurse and any conviction would be extremely detrimental to him. The Court was satisfied that a conviction would not be appropriate and sentenced the client to a good behaviour bond without conviction. Given the charges are found in the commonwealth legislation, it is important to note that a more onerous test applies to achieve a disposition involving a non-conviction, a very important matter when one considers the introduction of the spent conviction legislation.