Truckie's $25,000 Centrelink fraud leads to jail sentence
A NORTHERN Rivers man earned $75,000 in a year working as a truckie while continuing to receive a Commonwealth disability pension.
Neil Gregory Armfield, of Tatham, this week received a nine month suspended jail sentence after his conviction for receiving a financial advantage from a Commonwealth entity.
Armfield failed to inform Centrelink about his new job as a driver-mechanic for a South Lismore transport company in 2013.
Between about May 2013 and August 2014 Armfield earned more than $75,000 - more than $2200 a fortnight - while he was in receipt of the disability pension.
During the period he declared income of only $11,781.68, and the Commonwealth paid him $25,960.14, of which he was entitled to none.
Armfield, now 49, had been in receipt of the disability pension since 1993.
He was not required to regularly report to Centrelink in order to receive the disability pension, but was legally obliged to inform it about any change in his circumstances.
His "repeated failure" to inform the Department of Human Services about his income amounted to intentional conduct to receive payments "which the defendant knew or believed he was not eligible to receive," court papers state.
Data matching by the Australian Tax Office revealed the fraud in November 2015, and Armfield was ultimately charged on August 7 this year. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Tuesday this week.
Magistrate Jeff Linden convicted Armfield and handed him a nine month jail sentence, which was suspended on the provision of $500 and a three year good behaviour bond.
Armfield is also required to pay back the $25,000.