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Flood cheats face justice

Ipswich Magistrates Court
Ipswich Magistrates Court Rob Williams

IPSWICH flood cheats who claimed emergency money they weren't entitled to have been caught out.

In two separate cases, people had applied for the grants at a flood relief centre and been given hundreds of dollars.

They then went to other centres and reapplied for the grants, claiming they hadn't received any money when filling out the application forms.

Hayley Elena Lei, 27, received four payments of $510 each time in January last year during the crisis.

Lei legitimately applied for the Emergency Assistant Grant (EAG) on January 19 at a Redbank Plains flood shelter and received a $510 payout.

She then went to a Goodna shelter on January 29 and declared she hadn't received any money when applying for another grant.

On February 3, she went to two different shelters at Bundamba and Goodna and made the same fake claims.

All up she received $1530 she wasn't entitled to.

Police prosecutor Constable David Thiel said the offences were extremely serious because more needy people might have missed out.

Const Thiel said the generosity of the grants weren't there to be abused.

Lei pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud, was fined $1000 and ordered to pay $1530 restitution to the Queensland Government.

Lei's defence said she needed the money at the time to pay for rent and groceries and was under a great deal of stress after her property had been flooded.

The court heard Lei worked for an agency that handled debt collections.

In a separate case, Imeleta Brown, 32, claimed an extra $340 at a Riverview shelter on January 28 but had since paid it back. Brown, a mother of three, claimed she misread the paperwork and didn't know she had to declare if she had already received money.

She was fined $500.

Magistrate Virginia Sturgess said both Lei and Brown "weren't alone" by losing everything in the floods.

"There were a number of people who lost everything in the floods - you knew it was a one-off payment," Ms Sturgess said. "You are not alone in this situation."

Topics:  emergency funds, flood levy, flood relief, floods


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