A Maitland woman has been ordered to complete 200 hours community service and repay $13,000 she defrauded from Centrelink.
Nanjing Night Net

Cheryl Pankhurst, 42, pleaded guilty to two charges of obtaining financial advantage in Kurri Kurri Local Court yesterday.

Court documents said Pankhurst, also known by two other aliases, was only partially eligible for the Newstart program because she had work.

Between 2008 and 2009 and for a few months in 2010, Pankhurst claimed $13,739.40 in payments while living in Sydney.

The overpayments were triggered by the Australian Taxation Office’s data matching system.

Pankhurst under declared her income by $38,000.

In court yesterday Pankhurst’s solicitor said his client had tried to repay the money, but because she had declared bankruptcy Centrelink would not accept her money until 2013.

Magistrate Darryl Pearce said millions of dollars were stolen from the welfare agency annually and jail for the fraudsters was not uncommon.

He fined Pankhurst $1000 and ordered her to complete 200 hours community service and repay $13,739.40 to Centrelink.

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