Mandurah court: mother must repay Centrelink $28,703 in single parenting overpayments

Mandurah court: mother must repay Centrelink $28,703 in single parenting overpayments

A MOTHER must pay back $28,703 in single parenting overpayments after she significantly under-declared her income.

Chandell Celie Jefferies pleaded guilty to two counts of obtaining a financial advantage and appeared in Mandurah Magistrates Court today.

Department of Public Prosecutions representative Hugh Kopsen said Jefferies declared nil income from June 14 to July 14 2014. Jefferies only declared an income of about $4000 from July 2014 to April 2016.

However, during this period Jefferies was employed fulltime as a child educator at a Mandurah child care centre. She earned $3426 from June 14 to July 14 2014 and $80,498 during the next period.

Mr Kopsen said Jefferies intentionally omitted to declare her income to obtain parenting payments. He said she falsely declared her income on 11 occasions.

Lawyer Adam Miatke said Jefferies had to young children and had been overpaid when not eligible. He said Jefferies had been underestimating her income.

Jefferies had two young children. She had thought her employer would notify Centrelink that she was not longer on maternity leave.

Mr Miatke said Jefferies was repaying her debts to Centrelink.

Magistrate Anne Longden said it was deliberate deceit.

She placed Jefferies on a community release order with a six month imprisonment and $2000 recognizance. Ms Longden said the order was like a good behaviour bond.

Jefferies must pay $743 in costs and repay the debt to Centrelink.