Threatened with eviction man defrauded $36K from Centrelink
A man who defrauded Centrelink out of $35,000 told a court he was being threatened with eviction and being beaten or killed if he did not pay all the household bills for his live-in partner or her mother.
Michael Anthony Crossland pleaded guilty on Friday at Pine Rivers Magistrates Court to three charges of social security fraud.
The court heard between 2015 and 2018 Crossland was receiving government benefits from Youth Allowance and later Newstart.
But over the same period he was working in a number of northside pubs.
The court heard Crossland, 24, falsely reported to Centrelink 14 times that he had received no income, and under-reported his income 57 times.
He received more than $36,000 in benefits but he was only entitled to receive about $1000.
Crossland's lawyer Shaun Kolo told the court during the offending his client had been in a "toxic relationship" where he was abused by his partner and her mother.
After moving in with them he, the only person with a job, was responsible for all the household bills and was kicked out of the house and threatened to be beaten or killed when he could not cover the bills.
Mr Kolo said Mr Crossland knew he was receiving money he was not entitled too, but believed it was the only was to placate his partner and her mother.
"At the time of the offending he was in a poor relationship and was subjected to abuse from his partner and her mother," Mr Kolo said.
"The offending was under pressure do that toxic relationship."
After that relationship ended and Crossland moved out, Centrelink received an anonymous tip that started the investigation of his actions.
Crossland was sentenced to 10 months jail, suspended immediately and placed on a $2000 good behaviour bond.
*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.
Originally published as Threatened with eviction man defrauded $36K from Centrelink