NEWS

Mum rorts $26,000 from Centrelink

She'll spend three months in jail

A mum who received more than $26,000 in fraudulent payments from Centrelink has been sentenced to nine months in jail.

Melka Jane Krunes, 35, from Mount Louisa, claimed $26,018 she was entitled to between 2011 and 2017, the Townsville Bulletin reported.

Townsville Magistrates Court heard she made false reports to Centrelink on 156 occasions.

The fraudulent claims were picked up by the ATO.

Although she had a least four employers during the time she was paid $70,256 in benefits, on 16 occasions she claimed she had no income.

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Stock image (Credit: Getty images)

Krunes pleaded guilty to three charges of fraud. 

The prosecution told the court the fraud would have delayed payments to genuine applicants.

Krunes was the primary carer for her daughter and mother, her defence lawyer said, arguing time behind bars would impact them and affect her mortgage repayments.

Sentencing Krunes to nine months, of which she will serve three, and ordering her to repay $2,000, Magistrate Viviana Keegan said, ‘You’re stealing from every taxpayer in the country and diverting resources away from people that genuinely need them.’

Krunes must also be of good behaviour for three years. 

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