Seal Media Group, Australia
Amber Louise Newcombe, 30, claimed $31,350.02 from Centrelink between August 10, 2015, and May 2018, in social security benefits of a single parenting payment at a higher rate that entitled. She fronted Wagga Local Court on Monday charged with obtaining a financial advantage by providing misleading information. Newcombe initially pleaded guilty to seven charges relating to $6404.99 of benefit and was later found guilty after a hearing of 12 further charges totalling an amount of $24,944.34.The court heard she has entered a repayment plan and has repaid $9947 of the amount owed.Judge Christopher Halburd told Newcombe and said she was lucky she wasn’t going to prison. “The only reason you’re not going to jail is as the law recognises, it is clear you have suffered significantly and to deprive the children of you (the sole parent) it would simply be inappropriate,” Magistrate Halburd said.“You are somewhat lucky, as if it weren’t for these factors you would be going off to do a portion of 13 months in prison.”In sentencing, Magistrate Halburd said: “A clear message needs to be sent to members of the community if they are going to commit these offences, and they will be dealt with harshly by the courts.”Newcombe was fined $200 and is required to pay back the remaining $21,000.She was convicted and sentenced to an intensive corrections order (ICO) to be served in the community for 13 months.