11 September 2011

Welfare fraud

The Brisbane Times and Toowoomba Chronicle report that 73-year-old Ruth Bateman has been sentenced to four years' jail (9 months on a good behaviour bond) and ordered to repay $243,000 after falsely claiming multiple government benefits between 1987 and 2009.
She had applied for and received various Centrelink benefits in two names, her own and her maiden name of Ruth Green, for more than 21 years.

In what was described as an unsophisticated scam, Bateman had set up two bank accounts into which the payments such as Newstart and her pension were paid, the second account carrying a slightly different date of birth.

As a result, Bateman had received a total $246,327.72 in Centrelink benefits to which she was not entitled.
The payments included unemployment benefits, sickness benefits, the disability pension and the age pension.

The fraud was eventually detected by Centrelink's data-matching system.