Australia: Fraudster jailed for claiming $110,000 Centrelink payments while running multi-million-dollar business - - PressFrom - Australia
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Australia Fraudster jailed for claiming $110,000 Centrelink payments while running multi-million-dollar business

09:34  20 november  2019
09:34  20 november  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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A Perth man who defrauded Centrelink of more than $110,000 while running a multi-million-dollar shopping trolley collection business has been sentenced to three years' jail.

a man in a green shirt: Ali Ayad's supermarket trolley collection business had a turnover of almost $3.6 million. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)© Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation Ali Ayad's supermarket trolley collection business had a turnover of almost $3.6 million. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe) Ali Ayad, 49, received Newstart payments and carer allowance between May 2010 and December 2017 while he was operating the business, which had a turnover of almost $3.6 million.

The District Court was told most of the defrauded money was used to fund Ayad's gambling and drinking problems, but he also made four trips to the Philippines where he bought property.

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He was required to tell the Department of Human Services about any income he received, but he failed to do so.

At one point Ayad completed a form on which he had answered "no" to the question: "Do you undertake any paid voluntary work, study or training?"

On another occasion he declared an income of only $8,000.

The court heard when he was interviewed by authorities he said he knew he should have told the department what he was earning and he was surprised it took so long to get caught.

Fleeing torture in Iraq

Ayad told Centrelink he only had an income of $8,000 while at the same time running a multi-million business.© ABC News Ayad told Centrelink he only had an income of $8,000 while at the same time running a multi-million business. Ayad's lawyer, Gavin MacLean, said his client came to Australia in 2004 as a refugee after fleeing political persecution in Iraq, where he spent time in prison and was tortured.

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centrelink online account. humanservices.gov.au.

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Mr MacLean said when Ayad arrived in Australia he received Centrelink payments and accommodation, for which he was "grateful", but he then also started doing work for cash.

He said Ayad started up his own business after his son became ill and he had five or six people working for him who were paid in cash.

Because of the business's expenses, Mr MacLean said Ayad did not receive "anything like" the millions of dollars it turned over.

Prosecutors submitted that Ayad was motivated by "greed rather than need", noting that he failed to keep any proper business records.

Fraud 'breathtaking in its greed'

Ayad employed six people, paid them cash and didn't keep proper business records.© Gary Rivett: ABC News Ayad employed six people, paid them cash and didn't keep proper business records. Judge Alan Troy described the turnover of the business as "an extraordinarily large amount of money, particularly for a person who was defrauding Centrelink".

"To continue to look to Centrelink for payment — Centrelink being there to accept the most needy in our society — when you were running a $3.5 million business … is breathtaking in its greed," he said.

"It is very regrettable that having had the enormous privilege to be accepted into this country as a refugee, you repaid the generosity shown by this country by defrauding the most vulnerable in this country."

Judge Troy took into account that Ayad had entered pleas of guilty to the two charges against him and that he was remorseful for what he had done, but he said a term of imprisonment was necessary.

Ayad will have to serve 18 months in jail before he will be eligible for release.

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