How serial Centrelink fraudster collected $50k
A SERIAL Centrelink fraudster collected more than $50,000 more than he was entitled to after he failed to inform the government about income from his job as a casual labourer.
John Carl Tehan received the additional payments over 10 years between February 2009 and March 2018.
But when added together the period he did not report as required was only three years.
The 52-year-old pleaded guilty in the Southport Magistrates Court on Wednesday to 10 counts of obtaining financial advantage for self, driving under the influence of drugs and possessing dangerous drugs.
Magistrate Grace Kahlert sentenced Tehan to three years prison with immediate release on a $1000 bond.
He was disqualified from driving for six months and ordered to pay back more than $44,000. Tehan has already paid back more than $5000.
"The offending is serious and involves protracted defrauding of the Department of Social Security," she said.
Magistrate Kahlert said those who committed social security fraud created "a risk of demonising the needy in our community".
"Social security fraud is somewhat prevalent in the community and it requires a sentence that deters you and other people form engaging in this kind of behaviour," she said.
The court was told during that between February 2009 and March 2018 Tehan was working as a casual labourer while also receiving the Newstart allowance and for a short period a carers allowance.
He was eligible for both but Tehan failed to declare income meaning he was overpaid.
Tehan did report his income on 43 occasions but failed to on other occasions, leading to overpayments.
The court was told Tehan did not come to a voluntary interview which was set up in 2019.
The overpayments were detected when the Australian Taxation Office did data matching on Tehan.
Tehan was also caught on CCTV cameras getting in and out of his car on Surfers Paradise Boulevard about 7.30am on April 12 last year.
When police arrived he was asleep behind the wheel. Police found cannabis in his car.
Defence lawyer Patricija Nedeljko, of Gatenby Criminal Lawyers, said Tehan tried to call Centrelink on a number of occasions but was unsuccessful.
"He had to wait a long time and on other occasions he simply forgot," she said.
Since the incidents Tehan has moved to Victoria where he lives with his new partner.
Ms Nedeljko said Tehan was a heavy user of cannabis and the drug ice but had been clean since May last year.
Originally published as How serial Centrelink fraudster collected $50k