This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (state and federal industrial tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

Centrelink Fraud Defences


Most Centrelink offences require proof that what you did was done in full actual knowledge that it would result in Centrelink paying you more money than you were entitled. This article looks at the most common defences for Centrelink fraud.

This means that you may not have committed a Centrelink fraud offence unless you had a criminal intention to do what you did (for example under-declare your income), and you did that knowing you would be paid more than you should have been paid by Centrelink. The most common defence to a Centrelink fraud offence is a lack of intent to defraud the Commonwealth Government. This defence would apply in a case where it is alleged that someone failed to accurately declare their income, if they were not aware they were under-declaring their income, that person did not knowingly obtain the benefit they were not entitled to.

The defence may also be available where incorrect details were provided to Centrelink in relation to living arrangements, but that information was provided inadvertently or under an assumption that the information was correct.

As these are criminal proceedings, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions must prove that you had a criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt.

Centrelink does not always get things right.  Employees of Centrelink do make mistakes and they do not always keep proper records of conversations. It has been our experience that Centrelink employees often miscalculate what a person is entitled to.  It is common that the amount claimed to have been obtained by fraud is not correct.  We will be able to quickly ascertain what amount if any has been obtained by fraud.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

WHERE TO NEXT?

If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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