Centrelink 'leech' preyed on teen
A COMMUNITY has turned on a Centrelink "leech" accused of preying on teenagers for welfare payments and plying them with alcohol and cigarettes.
Unemployed woman Leisa Atkinson, 44, is accused of taking in young boys and girls and allowing them to live a parent-free party lifestyle while using them for money.
A mother of one of the teenagers, Leandrea Goves, posted a long message on a Facebook group for Kallangur in the Moreton Bay Region, north of Brisbane, to warn others about Ms Atkinson.
She called her a "predator and a leech" and told parents to watch out for who their teenagers were meeting and communicating with.
"I am at my absolute wits end," she said. "I think the community needs to be aware of this piece of s***."
Ms Goves said her 15-year-old son met Ms Atkinson at a shopping centre and the older woman began buying cigarettes and fast food for him and his friends. Eventually she persuaded him to move in with her, along with six other teenagers - and began claiming his Centrelink payments, said Ms Goves.
The 44-year-old single mother allegedly encouraged the teenagers to shoplift and find receipts in the car park so she could claim refunds or replacements for items she hadn't bought, Ms Goves claimed."She would get him to shop lift, damage property and steal to pay his way," the boy's mother said.
The older woman eventually started claiming the boy's welfare payments from Centrelink, giving him $100 a week and keeping the rest, Ms Goves claimed.
The boy's ex-girlfriend Taylor, 16, told A Current Affair that Ms Atkinson also tried to take her Centrelink payments without her knowing while she was living there.
Ms Atkinson allegedly moved from home to home with the teenagers, living squalid conditions, Ms Goves said - adding that police were unable to make him move back in with his family.
When the boy did eventually move back in with his mother, Ms Atkinson appears to have continued to secretly send him a stream of messages about meeting up.
The messages suggest the pair discussed money, meeting up and buying cigarettes. Ms Atkinson asks the boy why she hasn't seen him at the shops, whose phone he is using and warns him he may get caught smoking. When he insists he won't, she says: "OK well hope u don't and we all miss u."
She also asks him whether he has a new girlfriend.
When he tells her his mother has called the police, she writes: "U come to us."
Ms Atkinson's 21-year-old daughter allegedly became pregnant by one of the 14-year-old boys staying at the home, added Ms Goves.
Several other community members shared similar stories. Suzy McInnes told ACAthat her son Andrew met Ms Atkinson when he was 17 and started a relationship with her.
Ms McInnes said her son was on a disability support pension for autism, and Ms Atkinson supplied him with cigarettes and alcohol and opened a joint account for them, which she controlled.
Ms Atkinson denied taking any of Andrew's disability pension, and claimed he was 19 when she first met him. She also denied buying the teens alcohol, but admitted to purchasing cigarettes.
"Show me the proof," she told cameras.