May 11, 2022

Carer ordered to repay $108,000 to Centrelink after failing to declare income

Carer forced to pay back Centrelink

Maroochydore nurse Karen Delores Swartz, 59, received the Centrelink assistance between January 2014 and March 2019 even though she had gained employment and was no longer entitled to the allowance.

The court heard Ms Swartz had failed to notify Centrelink of her change in employment status.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) discovered she was receiving the payments after the ATO did a data match in 2018, according to media reports.

The 59-year-old pleaded guilty to obtaining financial advantage by deception.

She was sentenced to three years in jail, but released on a five-year good behaviour recognisance. She was ordered to repay the $108,753.76 she had obtained illegally.

Ms Swartz’s defence lawyer, Mark Dixon, said his client, a nurse, had been caring for her elderly mother while she herself was suffering from depression. 

Mr Dixon said if his client had served jail time she would have had to sell her home, causing a major upheaval for her family. 

Judge Nathan Jarro described Ms Swartz’s actions as “greedy” and “deceitful” and noted she used a separate bank account for the additional income. 

Convictions have been recorded against Ms Swartz. 

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