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West Australian fraudster jailed



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MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR THE HON MARISE PAYNE Minister for Human Services

Wednesday 2 September 2015

WEST AUSTRALIAN FRAUDSTER JAILED

A Western Australian woman who deliberately defrauded the Commonwealth of over $95,000 has today been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, to serve a minimum of nine months.

Gidgegannup resident Julie Bohannan, 41, pleaded guilty to not disclosing her relationship while receiving Parenting Payment Single between 2004 and 2009.

The Perth District Court heard, Ms Bohannan had claimed Family Tax Benefit when she was already receiving the payment under another name.

In handing down the sentence today, Judge Stavrianou told Ms Bohannan “that your offending was prolonged, deliberate, sustained and premeditated”.

Minister for Human Services Marise Payne said the sentence shows that people who set out to exploit the welfare system for their own benefit face serious consequences.

“No matter what lengths people go to in their attempts to cheat the system, the department’s detection methods will catch up with them,’’ Minister Payne said.

“Deliberate and dishonest cases like this prove that those who break the law by taking advantage of Australia’s welfare system will be caught.”

“Most people who receive welfare payments are honest and do the right thing by keeping the department up-to-date about their circumstances to ensure they are paid correctly,” Minister Payne said.

“However, a small number of people occasionally set out to deliberately defraud the Commonwealth in order to claim benefits to which they’re not entitled.

The Government is committed to strengthening the integrity of our welfare system to protect taxpayer dollars and ensure we can continue to support those in genuine need.

As part of the 2015 budget the government announced a $1.7 billion welfare integrity measure to further strengthen the department’s ability to detect, investigate and deter suspected welfare fraud and non-compliance.

Ms Bohannan was sentenced to a total of 18 months imprisonment, to serve a minimum of nine months immediately, and to be of Good Behaviour for nine months on release, with a Bond of $5,000.

More information about reporting suspected cases of Centrelink, Medicare or Child Support fraud can be found online at humanservices.gov.au/fraud or by calling the Australian Government Services Fraud Tip Off Line on 131 524.

Media contact: Henry Budd 0429 531 143