GO DIRECTLY TO JAIL: Woman jailed for $56,000 fraud
A COOLOOLA Cove woman has been jailed over a $56,000 Centrelink fraud, conducted over more than three years from August 8, 2011 to September 29, 2014.
Kym Michelle Dixon, 53, of Cooloola Cove, pleaded guilty to five charges of falsely obtaining financial advantage, by failing to declare income from employment.
Of $155,426.25 earned over the period of her fraudulent conduct, she only declared $13,192.33 to Centrelink, the court was told.
Her offence was a prevalent one that "threatened a welfare system which relies on the honesty of applications," the prosecution said.
Magistrate Andrew Sinclair noted Dixon had repaid only a small proportion of the money and still owed $47,986.32.
The court was told investigators discovered Dixon's crimes by comparing her carer's pension declarations with data from the Australian Taxation Office.
Mr Sinclair said Dixon had only declared 8.5 per cent of her income and was only entitled to 11 per cent of what she received from Centrelink.
Referring to evidence she suffered psychological problems as a result of her father's domestic violence and her children's medical problems, Mr Sinclair said: "Whatever conditions you were suffering, you were able to hold down three jobs."
He said the offences were not easy to detect and punishment needed to include "a general and a personal deterrent."
Dixon had obtained large amounts over a long time and showed an absence of remorse.
However, Mr Sinclair said he also noted she had stayed out of trouble her whole life up to the time of these offences.
Defence solicitor Chris Anderson said she usually had no fixed place of abode and often spent time with her parents in Woombye.
She went there to support her mother in a relationship challenged by violence from her father.
Both her children were disability support pensioners and "to a degree she is still mothering them."
Mr Anderson also produced a psychologist's report and a reference, but Mr Sinclair said he felt Dixon's earlier crime-free life "spoke more for her than reports or references."
He sentenced her to 18 months jail, with release after two months into a $2000 good behaviour bond for 18 months and an order to repay $47,986.