Beloved teacher’s aide exposed as $50k welfare cheat
A respected teacher aide of more than 25 years at a Logan primary school who spends her spare time volunteering scammed the Federal Government of more than $50,000 in welfare payments she was not entitled to over a seven-year period.
Slacks Creek woman Deborah Monaghan, 51, a teacher aide at Mabel Park State School, will serve three months behind bars of a two-year sentence before being released on a three-year, $3000 good behaviour bond.
Beenleigh Magistrates Court heard Monaghan obtained a financial advantage of $50,443.02 from Services Australia by consistently under-reporting her earnings at the school.
The first period she obtained a financial advantage by deception was between September 29, 2011 - March 25, 2012 with the Newstart Allowance.
In this period, she claimed $3829.77 more than she was entitled to.
The second period was between May 22, 2012 - October 14, 2018 with the Disability Support Pension.
In this period, she claimed $46,603.25 more than she was entitled to.
In total, during the two periods of deceptive conduct, Monaghan claimed about $144,000 when she was only entitled to about $99,000.
The court heard Monaghan was earning about $705 gross a fortnight for her work as a teacher aide.
Monaghan is on leave at the school until the end of August and also had to resign her position as the treasurer of a local community group, the court was told.
Character references from a Mabel Park teacher and a parent of a student were tendered on her behalf.
"They say what a wonderful teacher aide you are," Magistrate Louise Shephard said.
"These are very serious offences, easy to commit and difficult to detect."
Monaghan pleaded guilty to two charges of obtaining a financial advantage by deception.
She will spend three months behind bars. Convictions were recorded.
Monaghan still has to repay about $47,000.
Originally published as Beloved teacher's aide exposed as $50k welfare cheat