Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Man caught pocketing $27,000 illegal Centrelink payments

A man who falsely claimed more than $27,000 in Centrelink payments will have to pay it back.

MONIQUE PRESTON February 7, 2013 4:22am

An Echuca man who illegally claimed more than $27,000 in Centrelink payments has been ordered to serve 300 hours of community service and pay the money back.

Echuca Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday that David Parsons, 49, claimed $27,347.56 in Newstart allowance payments that he was not entitled to.

Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions lawyer Andrew Sprague told the court Mr Parsons had started a job as a cleaner while claiming the Newstart allowance.

While Mr Parsons told Centrelink about the work, he understated the income he was earning on his Newstart allowance claim forms, Mr Sprague said.

Mr Parsons made 69 false claims over 2 years, according to Mr Sprague.

Mr Parsons’ lawyer Marcus Williams said his client got into a position where he was financially strapped after a family custody dispute.

‘‘Mr Parsons knows that’s no excuse,’’ Mr Williams said.

‘‘He said in the Centrelink interview he was doing the wrong thing and he knew he was going to get caught.’’

In sentencing, magistrate Simon Garnett said Mr Parsons had committed ‘‘very serious offending over a prolonged period’’.

‘‘The community and the court frowns on this,’’ he said.

Mr Garnett told Mr Parsons if he had a prior history of this sort of offending, he would have sentenced him to jail.

Instead, he sentenced Mr Parsons to a community corrections order where he has to complete the 300 hours of unpaid community work over two years.

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