Black Saturday scammer avoids jail

 Black Saturday scammer avoids jail

17 April 2009

published by

Australia — A 31-year-old woman has been handed a suspended jail sentence for fraudulently claiming money meant for victims of the Black Saturday bushfires.

Single mother Kylie Ann Murphy pleaded guilty to four charges in the Melbourne Magistrates Court.

She cried quietly in the front row as her fraud was detailed in court.

A week after the fires, she falsely claimed her father had died in the Kinglake fires and applied for funeral costs and a disaster recovery payment.

In total she scammed $7,600 from Centrelink.

She also applied for $10,000 from the Bushfire Appeal Fund which she never received.

The court heard the single mother of four is under constant financial pressure.

The court heard Murphy cooperated with police when she was caught and told them she had stopped taking medication for depression when she committed the crime.

Magistrate Fiona Stewart said it was now clear to Murphy her behaviour was disgraceful and sentenced Murphy to six months’ jail, wholly suspended.

The court heard Murphy has been spat on in public and she has received hate mail.

Magistrate Stewart said those threats were foul and disgraceful behaviour.

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