A Thurgoona disability support worker rorted the Commonwealth to the tune of almost $60,000 in unemployment benefits to which he had no entitlement.
The ruse by Mark Massey was uncovered only when a data match was done with the Australian Taxation Office, Albury Local Court heard on Tuesday.
The rort netted $58,349.97 in just under four years.
Massey, 47, pleaded guilty to a single charge of receiving a financial advantage from a Commonwealth entity between September 1, 2014, and June 1, 2018.
The final Newstart payment Massey received during his offending was on May 17, 2018.
After pleading guilty, a Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions representative, appearing from Canberra via a video link, requested that Massey be required to apply for bail for the period up until his sentencing on March 26.
But magistrate Rodney Brender said he did not believe this could take place in such a way.
Mr Brender said it might be a case of the Commonwealth DPP making an application for Massey’s detention.
If that was successful, the possibility of a bail application could possibly arise.
But after a brief adjournment to seek instructions from her superiors, the DPP representative said this path would no longer be pursued.
Defence solicitor Sue Robey argued that this would not have been needed anyway, given her client’s guilty plea and the fact that he had already attended court when required.
Massey’s case was one of three such matters listed yesterday, though the only one to proceed.
The court was told that during Massey’s period of offending he was employed on a part-time basis as a disability support worker with Mercy Connect Ltd.
Massey earned a gross income of $242,171.25, or $2496.61 per fortnight.
This was deposited by his employer into the same National Australia Bank account as was used for his Newstart Allowance.
Massey reported his income to the federal Department of Health on a fortnightly basis.
This comprised of 118 false declarations and one false under-declaration.
The Newstart Allowance payments he received totaled $61,436.48, when in actual fact he was entitled to just $3086.60.
The DPP, in an outline of the charge, noted that the maximum penalty for the offence was 12 months’ jail, plus the possibility of fine of up to $12,600.
Mr Brender decided though to delay his decision on the penalty to be imposed.
He ordered that Massey undergo a sentencing assessment report to consider possible non-jail options and that he attend Community Corrections in Albury by 4pm on Tuesday to have the report done.
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