How nurse fooled Centrelink out of $100k

A GOLD Coast aged care nurse lied for six years about being married so she could sting the taxpayer almost $100,000 in single parenting payments.

Nicole Dunjey was only found out when the Australian Taxation Office realised she was still living with her supposedly former husband.

But the Pimpama mum of four claims she only did it because she was not getting enough financial support from her husband.

Her husband earned almost $400,000 in the six years Dunjey fraudulently took the payments.

Dunjey pleaded guilty in the Southport District Court yesterday to dishonestly gaining financial advantage.

The court was told Dunjey called Centrelink and the Department of Human Services in mid-2010 and informed them she was married and no longer eligible for the single parenting payment.

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Two weeks after she realised her parenting payments had reduced to zero, Dunjey called Centrelink again and told them she had split with her husband and the single parenting payment was reinstated.

Dunjey kept receiving the single payment from August 2010 to November 2016 despite living with her husband.

She falsely claimed $99,662.08 in parenting payments.

Investigations revealed Dunjey and her husband had the same address, the husband was present when her child was born, he was noted as her next of kin, they travelled to New Zealand together and had applied for a NAB loan together.

The pair were put under surveillance and it became clear to the Department of Human Services they lived together.

Judge Paul Smith said: "Your offending was persistent and deliberate. The amount was spent on household expenses and you've not led a lavish lifestyle."

Judge Smith sentenced her to three years in prison, to be released on a $1000 good behaviour bond on December 11.

Dunjey was also ordered to pay back the almost $100,000.

It was not the first time Dunjey has faced the court.

In 2006 she was convicted and ordered to complete community service after being found dishonestly taking about $12,000.

Defence barrister Matthew Jackson yesterday said Dunjey had committed the Centrelink deception "to provide for herself and her children".

"My instruction was it was a need and lack of support being provided by the husband."

Mr Jackson said since the offending Dunjey had completed a nursing diploma and started work as an enrolled nurse in a nursing home.



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