A WARRANT has been issued for the arrest of a Junction Hill couple who defrauded the Commonwealth of $2000 in natural-disaster payments.
Graham Shute and Karen Anne Shute, both 42, failed to appear when the matters were listed in Local Court sittings in Grafton on March 5 this year and again when they were relisted this week.
Both had been charged with engaging in conduct to obtain a financial advantage from a Commonwealth entity to which they were not entitled.
The court was told that on January 24, 2011, Graham Shute contacted the Coffs Harbour Centrelink call centre claiming he was not able to get to his home in Whitaker St, Boonooroo, Qld and made an oral application for a natural disaster recovery payment.
He said "all of Boonooroo went under. Whitaker St is now available, however, the driveway is 200m long and we are still cut off".
He asked that the $1000 be paid into an account where other Centrelink payments went.
However, a subsequent investigation found he had vacated the premises on December 14, 2010 and had been residing at a caravan park at Trial Bay between January 1 and February 10, 2011.
The circumstances around the charges to Karen Anne Shute were similar, but court documents said she made her false claim to the Moorabbin Centrelink office on January 19.
She claimed she was unable to get to Boonooroo because the highway was closed, but she, too, was found to have moved to Trial Bay earlier.
She also wanted the disaster payment paid to her Centrelink account.