Yeppoon dad fell to fraud temptation
TEMPTATION simply got the better of a Yeppoon family man.
When his social security forms came in each fortnight Michael Hamilton did not declare his income for almost a year.
While working as a part-time chef in Rockhampton, the single father-of-three, received almost $9000 from CentreLink.
It didn't take long for the Australian Tax Office to realise and a data match revealed inconsistencies.
Yesterday Hamilton, 29, pleaded guilty in Rockhampton Magistrates Court to obtaining financial advantage for self during 2007.
Hamilton did not declare any of the $32,557 he earned as a chef over 20 fortnights.
The government thought he was unemployed and continued to pay him benefits each fortnight.
The court was told yesterday that social security fraud was easy to commit and very hard to detect, therefore it should be regarded as a serious breach of the law.
Defence solicitor Cameron Schroder said Hamilton was on “struggle street” during that time, trying to raise his children alone.
Mr Schroder said the father couldn't believe his luck when he landed the job at a local motel, but simply didn't declare his income.
Magistrate John McGrath described Hamilton as a good parent and respectable community member.
“You just couldn't resist the temptation to keep the money,” Mr McGrath said.
“It's quite a significant amount of money over a long time - but it does seem out of character.”
Hamilton, who has a previous conviction for burglary in 2004, has started paying back the $9000 to the government.
Mr McGrath ordered Hamilton to complete 180 hours of community service.