Welfare fraud perpetrator jailed

RIPPING off Centrelink to the tune of $11,515 has cost Neil Ronald Hayward his freedom.

The 43-year-old's extensive criminal history worked against him when he appeared in Maryborough Magistrates Court on three charges of obtaining financial advantage.

Acting magistrate Neil Lavaring said he would usually impose a community-based sentence for similar offences but Hayward had used up all his chances.

“You're no newcomer to the courts for like offences,” Mr Lavaring said. “There needs to be deterrance in sentencing.”

The court heard Hayward failed to declare more than $30,000 in income that he earnt from three different jobs betwwn 2006 and 2009.

He continued to receive Newstart Allowance during the periods he was working.

Centrelink detected the fraud after doing a data-match with the Australian Tax Office.

Hayward already had pages of criminal history listing convictions such as fraud, break and enter and stealing.

Defence solicitor Trinity McGarvie said Hayward had been leading an intinerant lifestyle and was working casually when he committed the offences.

Ms McGarvie said Hayward's failure to declare his income was a case of him “putting his head in the sand.”

She said he was embarrassed by his behaviour and had started to repay the debt.

Hayward had already served one month in jail.

Mr Lavaring sentenced him to six months in jail and ordered he serve one-third of that term.

Hayward will be out of jail in about one month and will then be subject to a $2000 two-year good-behaviour order.



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