Forklift driver jailed for fleecing Centrelink
A Townsville forklift driver who rorted more than $20,000 from Centrelink forged 34 fortnightly reporting forms while receiving a Newstart allowance.
David John Whitby, 36, fraudulently received $21,608.05 between June 6, 2016 and September 12, 2017.
The Townsville Magistrates Court heard Whitby earned an income of $2600 a fortnight as a forklift driver.
Whitby was paid the Newstart allowance after declaring every fortnight he had not worked and submitted four medical certificates claiming he was unfit to work.
The court heard Whitby earned a total gross of $89,148.46 during the 15 months he defrauded the government.
Of the cash Whitby was paid by Centrelink, he was legally entitled to $322.49, the court heard.
Commonwealth prosecutor R Guilfoyle told the court Whitby's offending was detected in February 2018 by the Australian Taxation Office.
"The defendant did not voluntarily disclose his offending; it was only detected by investigators by a data match," she said.
"The offending occurred over persistent fortnights and on each of the 34 occasions he failed to declare the income he had earned."
The court heard Whitby had been on social security payments since 1999 and had repaid $830.30 to Centrelink.
Whitby pleaded guilty to obtain financial advantage for self.
The court heard Whitby had a long criminal history with previous convictions for dishonesty.
The defence lawyer by Whitby told the court his client was a father of two children.
Magistrate Ross Mack told Whitby he would be just in sending him to jail.
"In coming to the conclusion that you will be sentenced to a term of imprisonment I have considered all other available sentences and circumstances and I am satisfied that no other punishment is appropriate," he said.
"The reason for that is the seriousness of the offence and your previous criminal history for dishonesty and the lack of deterrence in your previous sentences."
Whitby was sentenced to 12 months' jail released forthwith with a $1000 recognisance good behaviour bond for 12 months.
Mr Mack ordered Whitby pay $20,455.51 in restitution.
Originally published as Forklift driver jailed for fleecing Centrelink