Man ordered to repay bank in defraud case

THE COMMONWEALTH will receive payments totalling more than $17,000 from a man who defrauded them more than a decade ago.

Paul O'Brien has not committed any offences since 1998 but faced Dubbo Local Court on five charges of receiving financial advantage from a Commonwealth entity.

The court heard O'Brien had already paid $1474.11 of $17,097.61 improperly obtained by claiming a disability support pension from Centrelink.

O'Brien's solicitor said his client should be favoured in any sentence because of early guilty pleas to all five charges. "He's taken full responsibility and he is suitable for community service," he said.

Magistrate Andrew Eckhold heard the maximum penalty for one offence was either a $6600 fine, 12 months' imprisonment or 200 hours of community service.

"What you did was dishonest and something that ripped off everyone," the magistrate said.

"It was not a victimless crime, you undermined the system."

The court then heard O'Brien had been brought up under an unstable lifestyle. "You're a mature man and in a relationship, so you're well past any excuses," Magistrate Eckhold said.

O'Brien was then imposed with 50 hours' community service for each offence, making a total of 250 hours. The magistrate said it was close to the maximum benefit he could give for an early plea.

Magistrate Eckhold also issued $83.60 in court costs and ordered the remaining $15,623.50 to be payable to the Commonwealth.

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