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Queensland mum’s $14,000 flood fraud

A FAR North mum who scammed $14,000 out of the federal government by lodging phony claims for flood disaster relief has been slapped with a three-month jail sentence, although will not spend any time behind bars.

Sheryl Ann Missionary, 26, pleaded guilty to 12 charges of obtaining a financial advantage by deception after conning the Australian Disaster Recovery Payments by making bogus claims using multiple identities, the Mossman Magistrates Court heard on Thursday.

Public prosecutor Dom Wiadrowski told the court Ms Missionary, who was living in Miallo at the time, fraudulently obtained nine one-off payments of $1000, two for $1800 and one $1400 claim over a two-month period in 2019.

Defence solicitor Steven MacFarlane told the court his client, who is on welfare, had taken advantage of "how easy it was" to obtain the original benefits and then agreed to claim for others, for which she would receive a $100 commission.

"She foolishly said she would, getting a quick $100 for herself, and that's the way it happened," Mr MacFarlane said.

"Money is tight at the best of times and she probably saw this as an easy way to get some (extra) … She knew what she was doing and it was wrong, hence her plea."

In handing down his sentence, Magistrate Kevin Priestly said while Ms Missionary had no criminal history of dishonesty, those who defrauded disaster relief schemes were dealt with more seriously than other social security frauds.

"It was not just a once or twice, it was a series of dishonest and deceptive actions on your part," he said.

Ms Missionary was convicted and sentenced to three months jail, released forthwith upon entering a recognisance release order for two years. 

Originally published as Far North mum's $14,000 flood fraud


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