Court hears alleged fraudster claimed $200k in flood relief
A QUEENSLAND mum who allegedly fleeced almost $200,000 from relief funds following the 2011 flood disaster had allegedly earlier tried to fudge her living arrangements to avoid paying tax.
Michelle Yvette Jones, 48, pleaded not guilty in Brisbane District Court this week to two counts of fraud in obtaining financial advantage through dishonesty.
The court heard the mother of three was paid $197,094 from the Premier's Relief Fund after she falsely claimed she was living with her children in the North Ipswich property she owned when the flood hit.
Ms Jones claimed in her assistance application the Delacy St property was her primary place of residence, had sustained structural damage, had no power and she had to seek alternative accommodation.
But the court heard Ms Jones was living with her partner in Brisbane when the disaster struck and the property had been rented out to the same tenant since June 2008.
Tenant Megan Collis told the court on Tuesday she had lived in the one-bedroom property until she was evacuated in January 2011, at the height of the flood.
She said Ms Jones never lived at the property but offered her four weeks free rent shortly before the disaster struck if she helped her portray that she lived at the address.
"She said she wanted it to appear that she lived at the address and I had moved out," she said.
"She told me it was because she did not want to pay capital gains tax on the property.
"I told her I was uncomfortable and uneasy with her plan but she said it was going ahead.
"Then the flood event occurred."
Ms Collis told the court she had applied for emergency assistance on January 15, 2011, after losing the majority of her belongings in the flood.
The court was told Ms Jones's alleged offending came to light after records were cross-checked as a result of Ms Collis submitting her claim for assistance.
The trial before Judge Sarah Bradley continues.
- APN NEWSDESK.