Centrelink targeted: Con man lucky to avoid jail sentence

CENTRELINK caught up with one Orange man who had been defrauding the system for years. 

Wilfred Andrew Walker represented himself before magistrate Terry Lucas in Orange Local Court on Thursday charged with defrauding the Department of Human Services of $16,313.21.

Walker worked at RJ Mobbs and Associates since July 2009 until May 2013, while receiving Newstart payments.

He failed to tell Centrelink of his income and claimed the entirety of the Newstart payments. 

Centrelink claimed it sent Walker five letters reminding him of his income reporting obligations during the time he received payments. 

Had he been honest about his income, Centrelink would have reduced his payments or stopped them once he reached an income threshold. 

It was the Australian Tax Office who finally nabbed the 59-year-old when it used income matching software to cross reference his tax return with the Department of Human Services. 

Walker could have gone to jail for up to 12 months for his crime but Mr Lucas asked Walker what punishment he thought was appropriate.

“I have the whole gamut of sentencing options available,” Mr Lucas said. 

Walker offered to do community service or enter into a good behaviour bond. 

Mr Lucas chose not to send Walker to jail.

He fined him $6000 and Walker also has to continue to “make reparations” to Centrelink for the money owing. 

Walker was more concerned with the criminal record he had after his conviction rather than what punishment he was given.

“I’ll lose my job... in my employment I deal with hospital records,” he said. 

“I’ll try to find some other work.”