Gladstone mum stole from 'every Australian taxpayer'
A GLADSTONE mother was told she "stole from every Australian taxpayer” when she falsely claimed over $39,000 in Centrelink payments.
Kim Marie Slater pleaded guilty in Gladstone Magistrates Court to three counts of obtaining financial advantage for self.
The court heard between April 19, 2011 and November 26, 2016 the mother of three made eight false claims she was not receiving an income and 132 false claims of underpayment.
Prosecutor Michael Armstrong told the court during the offending Slater held two jobs, the most recent as an assistant nurse at New Auckland Close.
Over five years she was paid $39,957.40 of allowances she was not entitled.
Mr Armstrong said Slater continued to make false claims even after the department sent her a letter informing her of the overpayments she had been receiving.
Defence lawyer Jun Pepito said his client did not use the money for alcohol, drugs or gambling.
He said his client used the money to care for her children, one who suffers an intellectual disability.
Mr Pepito said two of her children were now adults but the 15-year-old was still dependant.
Magistrate Brian Kucks asked Slater whether she had made care arrangements for the teen if she was to go to jail.
Slater said she hadn't.
Mr Kucks said the social welfare system was in place to assist citizens experiencing difficulties and relied on the honesty of those who used it.
"It is effectively stealing from every Australia taxpayer,” Mr Kucks said.
He said Centrelink frauds larger than $30,000 were guaranteed jail time.
"It was a lack of foresight when you said nothing had been organised to look after your child,” he said.
"It appears you walked in the courtroom with the impression you are walking straight back out that door.”
However Mr Kucks said given Slater had a child who depended on her, and for no other reason, she would be spared spending actual time behind bars.
Slater was ordered to serve 18 months imprisonment, wholly suspended on a four-year good behaviour bond.
Mr Kucks warned if she broke the law in the next four years she faced a $4000 penalty and actual jail time.
She was also ordered to pay the full amount owed to Centrelink and $96 in court costs.