Judge sends frail woman to jail

By HELEN JACK helen.jack@northernstar.com.au A FRAIL and elderly Casino woman has been sent to jail for defrauding Centrelink of almost $200,000 over a 22-year period.

Gai Misters, 69, pleaded guilty to seven counts of defrauding the Commonwealth between 1984 to 2006. Using a walking frame, Misters sat quietly throughout the hearing.

The court heard evidence from Misters’ brother, Trevor Maxwell Cobb, 63, of Woodburn.

Mr Cobb said he and his sister grew up in a dysfunctional home and that Misters left school when she was 14 years old.

He said his sister married when she was 21 years old and the relationship had become as dysfunctional as their parents’ and that his sister had no understanding of financial matters.

Mr Cobb said during her married life, Misters allowed people unrelated to her, live with her.

And during a period of hospitalisation her handbag had been stolen.

Misters’ defence lawyer suggested the payments and account could have been set up by another person.

Judge Black said Misters had claimed numerous Centrelink allowances, some under another name and in a separate bank account.

Judge Black said regardless of whether Misters found documents allowing her to claim the money, or if she created another identity herself, it did not matter because she made a conscious decision to do so.

When considering punishment Judge Black said even though Misters was ill her medical evidence was not exceptional and people older and in worse health had received custodial sentences for similar matters.

He sentenced Misters to a total of three years jail, with a non-parole period of 12 months and ordered her to repay $192,529.72.

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