Grandmother who rorted $104,000 in carer’s payments from Centrelink is set free – but must pay all the money back
- Queensland grandmother ordered by judge to pay back more than $108,000
- Karen Swartz wasn’t entitled to the carer payments she received for five years
- Judge has ordered the Maroochydore nurse to pay back the $108,753 she owes
A Queensland grandmother will be forced to pay back hundreds of thousands after her ‘deceitful’ plan to steal from Centrelink was uncovered.
Karen Delores Swartz, 59, received over $108,000 in government assistance she wasn’t entitled to between January, 2014 and March, 2019.
She was sentenced to three years in jail after the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) discovered she was still receiving Centrelink carer’s payments.
The 59-year-old pleaded guilty to obtaining financial advantage by deception and was released on a five-year good behaviour recognisance.
Maroochydore nurse Karen Delores Swartz, 59, (pictured) received over $108,000 in government assistance she wasn’t entitled to between 2014 and and 2019
The prosecution told the Maroochydore District Court the local nurse had received $108,753.76 in payments over a period of five years, the Courier Mail reports.
The court heard Ms Swartz had failed to notify Centrelink that she had gained employment and was therefore no longer entitled to the carer payments.
The social security fraud was only discovered after the ATO did a data match on the Maroochydore nurse back in August, 2018.
Ms Swartz had only paid $4,729.20 of her debts at the time.
Her defence lawyer Mark Dixon said his client had been caring for her elderly mother while also fighting her own mental health battles.
The court heard Ms Swartz had failed to notify Centrelink (pictured) that she had gained employment and was therefore no longer entitled to the payments
Mr Dixon said the nurse ‘buried her head in the sand’ by ignoring her offending due to her depression.
He added that if his client served jail time she would be forced to sell her home, which would have repercussions for her family.
Judge Nathan Jarro described her actions as ‘greedy conduct’ and ‘deceitful’.
He highlighted the fact she had used a separate bank account where she was receiving additional income.
Ms Swartz was ordered to pay back the remaining $104,024.56 she owed and was put on a five-year good behaviour recognisance.
Convictions have been recorded.