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  1. #1
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    Default Centrelink fraud.. Will I go to jail?

    Please don't flame me for posting this.. It's taken me a lot to even write it and am so stressed I have no one I can talk to about this... Has anyone been in a situation where they have dobbed them self into Centrelink for fraud?

    I'm a single mum after an awful separation, and recently started working in September 2015. After my separation I took on a lot of our joint debt, and also just finished a custody battle (which left me with a significant solicitors debt as I was not eligible at the time for legal aid)

    I have been struggling pretty hardcore to get on my feet and am so absolutely incredibly ashamed to admit I have underestimated my income for a while now, about the last 5 months.

    (EDIT: by this I mean I have declared I earned less than I did on a fortnightly basis which impacts the single parenting payment)

    The guilt has eaten away at me every time I do it, but the thought of paying rent/bills/food for my child/everything else... Really just comes first..

    I have under estimated my income by around $9,000, meaning I have been overpaid by about $4,500 (I think)...

    I told my one friend and she said don't worry about it, leave it and Centrelink will eventually catch up with you, just start doing it all correctly from now... You can worry about it when it happens......

    However today I phoned up and dobbed myself in. I am so ashamed and embarrassed and just want to make it right. I was/am legitimately struggling but don't want this hanging over my head anymore.
    The lady on the phone was understandably rude.. I don't blame her, and my only response was that I know I have stuffed up and I just want to fix it. I just want to do the right thing.

    This afternoon I have been googling what has happened to Centrelink cheats, and see that some get charged and go to court and possibly even JAIL!

    I am now stressing so bad that I will have to go to court and end up in jail. :'(

    Does anyone know anyone who has been in a similar situation? Or anyone dobbed themselves into Centrelink..? What was the outcome?

    I'm fully prepared to pay the amount I owe back through reduction of payments or make payments off my own back. I just want this all to go away and not be this person. I despise people like myself. I'm just so mad at myself and embarrassed things have gotten so bad.

    I want to call them up and ask if it's likely I will be charged formally for this, or if I will just be required to pay it back all the lady said today was I will receive a letter in a few weeks detailing the amount I owe and will give me some options. Has anyone been in a similar situation??

    I'm so scared. I need to sort my life out but have no idea where to even start. :'(
    Last edited by embarassedandstressed11; 02-06-2016 at 16:05.

  2. #2
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    I haven't been in this situation but $4,500 isn't a huge amount and 5 months isn't that long and I'm guessing this all occurred in a single financial year. Also the fact that you owned up would work in your favour.

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    Don't panic. I underestimated our income and was paid FTB when I shouldn't have been. Was a tick under $4k. They sent me a letter about it and we paid it back fortnightly over about a year, no dramas. They wanted the amount paid in full but I just called and said no and asked to go on a payment plan which they were fine with.

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    I doubt you would go to jail over this, if she said you were getting a letter with your options then I would assume that would just be payment options. Don't beat yourself up too much, you've done something wrong but you're doing the right thing now and that's all you can do. I accidentally underestimated our income (I forgot to take into account DHs bonus) and when we filed his tax return we just got a letter in the mail saying we owed them $2,500 and it just meant that we didn't receive our FTBs until the debt was paid back. No jail time required Sorry that's you've been going through a hard time though, I hope things get better soon xx

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    Default Centrelink fraud.. Will I go to jail?

    Cases get referred to DPP to decide if they will prosecute. They look at the amount and if the money was claimed fraudulently or due to a genuine mistake. No point calling Centrelink they won't be able to tell you yet if you will be persecuted.

    Under estimating estimates for FTB is different to under declaring fortnight income for PPS.
    Last edited by Pixie Dust; 02-06-2016 at 15:38.

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    I have no experience with this except I doubt you'll go to jail. I'm an accountant and deal with the ATO often and have never seen anyone who's done the wrong thing end up with anything more than a fine/penalty. the fact is, this is so minor and you've owned up to the wrongdoing. they'll probably just make you repay it, with interest plus maybe slap you with a penalty. there's no way they'd waste time going through the justice system for something so minor. the jails are so full that actual real crooks get to walk free, please don't stress yourself worrying about this unnecessarily.

    it's fantastic you feel remorse but it honestly sounds as though you were in a very tough spot financially and although it's never good to be dishonest, I can see why you've done so. plus you're remorseful, not like you are sitting here bragging about ripping centrelink off.

    I think you'll just have to sit tight and see what they say. honestly, I would stress though, you're definitely not going to jail. big hugs xx

  8. #7
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    I thought Centrelink and the ATO communicate and they find out all income, profits and loss and then send you a letter.

    Don't be scared.

  9. #8
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    I under declared fortnightly for single parenting payment so am so worried this is "worse"..... I don't know I just feel so awful.

  10. #9
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    You have done the right thing, besides, even if you didn't ring, I think they would of eventually caught up with you. Your not a criminal.

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  12. #10
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    My MIL was in this situation, she just paid back the money,no jail, so I'm hoping it should be the same for you too


 

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