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Our 27 year old client is a single mother of 2 young children living in the Campbelltown area.
She was charged by the Police with 3 charges of Obtaining Financial Advantage from Centrelink for payments she received between 2014-2018.
She was also charged with one count of Making a False/Misleading Statement to Centrelink. As a result she was overpaid in excess of $40,000 from Centrelink.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) prosecuted her for these charges.
The case against our client was that she misled Centrelink into believing she was unemployed in order to gain a bigger financial gain on her Single Parent payment. She also attempted to obtain a Carer Payment and in doing so had also stated she was unemployed in order to receive this.
Before being charged, our client received a letter from Centrelink earlier in the year offering for her to provide in an interview in relation to her prior payments. Upon receiving this, she immediately contacted our office and spoke with our team of lawyers at CDLA.
Our client ultimately exercised her right to silence and did not participate in the interview with Centrelink.
Our client then attended our office where she was provided with advice and guidance in relation to her case by our managing lawyer Tayla Regan.
Our client pleaded guilty and managed to avoid jail on sentence thanks to the early stage our client contacted our team, well preparation and compelling submissions in court that was made to the Judge by our Tayla Regan.
Some of the main factors that helped get this brilliant outcome included:
The arrangement of a payment plan with Centrelink for our client to repay the debt in instalments.
well drafted apology letter, good character letters, psychologist report and evidence of the support she is now getting to treat her mental health and further evidence of the help she is now receiving to provide for her ill mother and special needs son.
At the time of the offences, our client was a single mother to two children who’s father did not contribute financially in any way.
She was also a victim of a violent domestic relationship and was struggling with her own untreated mental health.
On the day of the sentence, a report prepared by Community Corrections had expressed that our client was unsuitable for community service work due to the fact that she worked 2 jobs to provide for her children.
In court, the Magistrate indicated that he would be giving a full time custodial sentence in those circumstances.
Our Managing Lawyer Tayla Regan immediately rose to her feet and made lengthy submissions in court to persuade the Court not to send her client to full-time jail.
In the result, despite the large amount of money and long duration of offending, the Magistrate was convinced and agreed to impose a penalty of an Intensive Corrections Order (ICO) for 8 months, instead of full-time jail. This includes community service work.
She managed to avoid jail and now gets to enjoy her Christmas with her two children.