Client was prosecuted for obtaining $24,500 from Centrelink by deception over a period of 2 years. Client was in paid employment whilst receiving Centrelink benefits. Client failed to disclose to Centrelink the correct amount that he was earning during the 2 year period. Client was 56 years old, lived in housing commission and had the care of his younger brother who suffered from a severe intellectual disability. Client had suffered from depression for 10 years. Client pleaded guilty at an early stage and had commenced repaying Centrelink.
Magistrate found that a sentence of imprisonment was not appropriate given that Client had the full time care of his disabled brother and was contributing to the community in that way. Magistrate found that hardship to another person was a significant factor that did not call for full time imprisonment. A 12 month suspended jail sentence was imposed on the condition that the Client be of good behaviour for the 12 months.
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