Maria Doogan slaps down a Centrelink fraudster

johnboy 17 January 2009 8

The Canberra Times has an amusing story on Nadine Verran, 36, of Rivett’s efforts to claim that being forced to repay fraudulent Centrelink payments was punishment enough.

    When Mr Stubbs suggested his client should be entitled to some leniency because of substance abuse and other problems, Ms Doogan said Verran had failed to fulfil her responsibilities while living off the public purse.

    ”She gets money from other people who earn money. She didn’t earn it by sweat and toil,” she said.

    Ms Doogan accepted the importance of social-security benefits for those in need, but said people receiving payments needed to be scrupulous about meeting their obligations.

    She also referred to Verran’s criminal history, which included several counts of theft and failing to appear in court, and remanded her in custody for the next two weeks, after which she will be sentenced.

Remanded in custody on a fraud charge? Now that’s showing a bit of steel!

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8 Responses to Maria Doogan slaps down a Centrelink fraudster
ant ant 10:10 am 21 Jan 09

Perhaps Newstart was not applied-for as the primary requirement, that the claimant be available for, and actively seeking full time work was seen as too onerous.

Wilco Wilco 10:02 am 21 Jan 09

jakez said :

Wilco, technically what the lawyer said is not incompatible with the material you have presented.

With the greatest of respect I demur.

The law requires a claim to be made for Newstart. This was apparently not done. Ergo, no submitted and approved claim, no finite amount of money, no compliance with the law; merely an unsupported assertion from the Bar Table that Ms Verran would have been entitled to Newstart had she applied for it.

The defence lawyer is not a Centrelink delegate authorised to determine Newstart applications. And no evidence was apparently led from Centrelink or any other qualified witness as to Ms Verran’s eligibility for Newstart, Thus, to assert that Ms Verran would have been entitled had she applied is a specious argument at best.

Both the defendants’ lawyers also argued for a ‘notional entitlement’ to be offset against the overpayments. Notional means “not existing in reality’ or ’speculative or theoretical’. Thus, boiled down, the Defence submission was to ask the Court to offset the admitted overpayments by some unspecified and presumptuous theoretical amount that doesn’t exist, and which was allegedly computed from a claim that was never prepared/submitted, and thus not assessed by Centrelink according to law.

Quite rightly, Magistrate Doogan was unimpressed.

jakez jakez 10:48 pm 18 Jan 09

Wilco, technically what the lawyer said is not incompatible with the material you have presented.

Thumper Thumper 9:04 am 18 Jan 09

A hearty cheer for Ms Doogan. We have people in society who are deserving of welfare, this woman (Verran), is not one of them.

nyssa76 nyssa76 11:27 pm 17 Jan 09

Wilco, parenting payment is for PARENTS. Unbelievable I know, but its true.

Once Ms. Verran lost custody of her child, she should have informed Centrelink – or weren’t the ads on TV and in newspapers enough information for her?

Doogan did a great job and frauds like Ms. Verran should be also made to do community service as they cheated not only Centrelink but the tax payer.

This BS of ‘oh they could have received another benefit’ is just crap. It’s called being responsible for your own actions.

123qwe 123qwe 10:47 pm 17 Jan 09

BTW. Nice one Maria. That crazy mofo got owned.

123qwe 123qwe 10:46 pm 17 Jan 09

A lawyer not thinking before opening his mouth…get out of here. That’s crazy talk.

Wilco Wilco 3:13 pm 17 Jan 09

The Canberra Times report also says that Ms Verran’s lawyer told the Court that his client would have been entitled to the Newstart allowance had she applied for it, and that this constituted a ‘notional overpayment’ which should be offset against the original overpayment.

He might have first checked the relevant Newstart provisions of the Social Security Act 1991. Had he done so, he would havefound that there are several qualifications imposed by the legislation on Newstart applications, including a requirement that a person actually has to make a claim for Newstart before a claim would be considered.

To argue the existence of a notional overpayment when no claim had been made is clearly arrant nonsense.

Lawyers have a duty to the Court to research the relevant law thoroughly, and not to misrepresent the law to the Court. Not so, it seems, on this occasion.

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