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Queensland welfare cheats jailed for more than $121,000 fraud.



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MINISTER’S MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Cosson 0423 823 843

MEDIA RELEASE Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig Minister for Human Services

Wednesday 8 October 2008

Queensland welfare cheats jailed for more than $121,000 fraud

The Minister for Human Services, Senator Joe Ludwig, said the jailing of a Queensland couple serves as a serious warning to people cheating the welfare system.

A Loganlea couple has been sentenced to three years jail for claiming more than $121,000 in welfare payments from Centrelink over an eight-year period.

“The prosecution of these two fraudsters sends a clear message to the community that if you cheat the system, you will get caught,” Senator Ludwig said.

“The Rudd Government will not tolerate people who unlawfully try to take advantage of the welfare system.”

“The vast majority of Centrelink customers are honest and entitled to their payments, and we are committed to helping those with a genuine need.”

The couple pleaded guilty to welfare fraud and was sentenced to three years’ prison by the Beenleigh District Court on 7 October.

They will be released after six months on a good behaviour bond and have been ordered to repay any amounts outstanding to the Commonwealth.

The court heard that from October 1996 to November 2004, the 45-year-old man failed to declare income to Centrelink while on a Disability Support Pension.

Centrelink investigators also discovered during the same period, the 48-year-old woman failed to declare earnings while she was in receipt of a wife’s pension.

“Anyone contemplating welfare fraud should be warned the system is fair and will pursue people who do the wrong thing,” Senator Ludwig said.

“This was a deliberate act of deception and is a total disregard for the integrity of the welfare system as a whole.”

To report suspected cases of welfare fraud call the Australian Government Services Fraud Tip-off Line on 13 1524 or visit the Centrelink website at www.centrelink.gov.au