Centrelink fraud

Centrelink fraud is a serious offence and the consequences can be significant. If you lie to Centrelink about your circumstances, you may receive benefits that you would otherwise not be entitled to. Courts view Centrelink fraud very seriously and if found guilty you could face a sentence of imprisonment and will be required to repay the debt to Centrelink.

The most common offence charged is obtain a financial advantage under section 135.2 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty is imprisonment for 12 months. More serious frauds are often prosecuted in the District Court with maximum penalties up to 10 years imprisonment.

The types of conduct that may result in a charge before the court include:

  • Telling Centrelink that you do not have a job or did not earn income, when you have received income
  • Telling Centrelink that you are single when you are married or in a de facto relationship
  • Claiming a benefit in a false name
  • Claiming a benefit that you know you are not entitled to

Centrelink offences are prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

For an offence of obtain financial advantage, the prosecution must prove:

  • You intentionally engaged in conduct, for instance, you claimed a benefit from Centrelink
  • You obtained a financial advantage, that is, you received money that you were not entitled to, and
  • You knew that you were not entitled to receive that financial advantage

Centrelink will notify you if they commence an investigation into the benefit you receive. You may be requested to attend a voluntary recorded interview or to write a statement. It is important to seek legal advice prior to making a decision to attend. There may be a defence available to you. Kingston Fox Lawyers have former Commonwealth prosecutors who have many years of experience in Centrelink prosecutions. We understand how to decipher the complex Centrelink documents and systems that form part of the brief of evidence. 

Contact Kingston Fox Lawyers to arrange an initial free consultation.