Woman to repay Commonwealth

LISMORE woman Jessica McMaster is to repay the Commonwealth more than $8000 she received in overpayments after failing to declare her casual income when working on a poultry farm.

McMaster, 28, pleaded guilty to seven fraud offences, engaging in financial advantage, when she appeared in Lismore Local Court last week.

The offences took place intermittently between April 2005 and March 2007 and involve payments of Newstart Allowance over 32 fortnights.

At the time of the offences McMaster was working in casual employment at Tatham Poultry and Brookfarm.

The Commonwealth claimed that she received $8663.53 in overpayments after failing to declare her income to Centrelink.

She had partial entitlement during 19 fortnights and nil entitlement during 13 fortnights, but continued to lodge claims.

Defence lawyer Gary Hooper said his client as at February 22 had repaid $1800.

She was caught out in a data match with the Australian Taxation Office.

Magistrate Robyn Denes convicted McMaster of the offences butreleased her without passing sentence to be of good behaviour for two years.



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