'Hard-working' dad steals $58k from Centrelink
A SUNSHINE Coast man has been jailed for claiming nearly $60,000 in Centrelink payments he wasn't entitled to, to look after his family.
John Thomas Tranter pleaded guilty to one count of obtaining financial advantage by deception in Maroochydore District Court on Monday.
Tranter, 59, dishonestly gained $58,333 in Centrelink payments between January 19, 2012 and February 2016. The father-of-seven lied in a form and in an in-person interview to the department on separate occasions when asked whether he was employed.
Over the four years the Perwillowen man worked three jobs, one of them as a full-time truck driver, and earned about $75,000 annually.
He did not update his details with the department, which would change the benefit amount he received.
Defence barrister Simon Lewis said his client was struggling financially looking after three children aged between 17 and 21.
He was also caring full-time for his wife, who suffered a heart attack in 2009.
The court heard his offending was 'unsophisticated' and at any time during the offending his employment status could have been revealed by the department using its search software.
Judge Andrews said it was clear the man's offending was done out of need rather than greed.
The court heard Tranter had made $7052.47 in repayments to the department with over $50,000 to be paid. He was described as a 'hard-working man'.
Judge Andrews sentenced Tranter to two years jail to be released after serving three months.