Mum on bond for $22,000 fraud

A SINGLE mum who ripped $22,000 off Centrelink in overpayments is repaying the money but still owes more than $14,000.

Emma Tams, 28, was convicted of the fraud offences in Gladstone Magistrates Court last year but returned to court with an application to revoke a community-based order that was part of her punishment.

Tams is unable to continue to do unpaid community work because of her work commitments with a new job.

She had been sentenced to 10-months jail to be served in the community by way of an Intensive Corrections Order (ICO) after pleading guilty to four counts of obtaining financial advantage in single parenting payments.

In a case described by the prosecution as "greed not need", Tams defrauded the Commonwealth by providing false information that resulted in a series of overpayments at Gladstone and Biloela between September 2011 and May 2014.

Tams was found to have misrepresented herself to receive the Social Security benefits and as a result was overpaid $22,010.47.

This week Commonwealth prosecutor Susan Miles told magistrate Mark Morrow the application was not opposed for the ICO to be revoked and a new penalty imposed.

Ms Miles said Tams had complied with the original sentence "to the best of her ability" and made further repayments since her sentence.

"It is in her favour that she is making repayments of $159.46 a fortnight," she said.

Lawyer Jun Pepito said it was the intention of Tams to do the work but her own work commitments meant she only completed 29.5 hours.

He said the court might be able to release her immediately. Mr Morrow said he was concerned as the fraud involved a large sum of money and offenders did serve jail time for similar offences.

Mr Morrow said imprisonment was within range and Tams must continue with her repayments. Resentenced to six months jail, Tams was released immediately on a $2,000 good behaviour bond for two years.

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