News

Austudy fraudster overclaimed more than $18,000

A GYMPIE woman appeared in court this week on a charge of falsely reporting earnings to obtain more than $18,000 in Austudy payments.

Gabrielle Rebecca Calder, 30, pleaded guilty to obtaining financial advantage by declaring less than she earnt over a two-and-a-half-year period while studying for a master's degree.

She was convicted and fined and given a suspended jail sentence, along with a stern lecture from the magistrate.

Between February 26, 2010 and June 29, 2012, Calder reported earnings online every fortnight that totalled $14,110 over the period.

The figure was well below the student's actual earnings of $47,422 for the period, which she made while working at a Byron Bay bookshop.

This resulted in an Austudy overpayment of $18,981.

The prosecution told Gympie Magistrates Court on Thursday that crimes against social security were serious even though they were easy to commit and hard to detect.

Calder's defence lawyer Rachel Tierney said the defendant had been under considerable financial stress at the time and described it as a crime of need, not greed.

She described Calder as a contributing member of society who had already voluntarily repaid $11,260.

Gympie magistrate M. Baldwin said there had to be a serious deterrent in such cases.

"Our social security is a safety net not a hammock," she said.

"Australia has a social security system that many would consider is second to none and we have to protect that."

Calder was sentenced to six months imprisonment, to be released immediately and issued a two year good behaviour bond with a recognisance of $2000.

A conviction was recorded and reparation of $7721 was ordered.

Gympie Times

Topics:  centrelink, fraud, welfare




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

'All I heard when my baby cried was ‘you’re a terrible mum'

APN Hey Mummy Feature for online - stock images of Katie Dykes. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

KATIE'S battle with PND is not unlike many mothers.

'I just thought all mums got no sleep'

MELTOPIA battled PND with all four of her children.

4 survival tips for mummas heading back to work

The few reminders every working mum needs to read.

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

Police look for Borumba Dam vandals, wall is safe

SEQWATER has already taken steps to replace the markers stolen from the Borumba Dam wall recently.

Borumba Dam wall markers stolen: response from seqwater

A witness to history

HISTORY LESSON:  The Empire Hotel, circa 1872, when it was called the Newmarket Hotel.  Soon after it became the Miner's Arms.

A brief history on the Empire Hotel in Gympie

Community rallies behind Dean family

Suzy Perissinotto rallying support for the Dean family at Jetts Gympie health club's local fundraiser, July 1, 2016

Local community support is rallying behind the Dean family

Latest deals and offers

Burnett Heads housing development approved

COUNCIL APPROVED: A Burnett Heads housing development has been approved by Bundaberg Regional Council. Photo Contributed

Councillors approved the development seven votes to four

Three bedroom, 1100sqm block: Is this Qld's cheapest home?

BARGAIN BUY: Is this North Bundaberg property the cheapest home in Queensland?

Becoming a real estate mogul is all about risk and reward