Fraud charges for cyclone claims
A 45-YEAR-OLD mother of five, who made four claims for a one-off cyclone assistance grant in March, received a three month suspended prison sentence for three fraud charges and one attempted fraud charge in the Proserpine Magistrate's court last Wednesday.
Pauline Maree Enkleman applied for and received three payments as part of the Department of Communities Cyclone Ilui assistance grants, despite signing a declaration which said she could only apply for a one-off payment of $665.
Enkleman received one legitimate payment from the grants scheme on March 24 which she made at the Whitsunday PCYC in Jubilee Pocket.
She then made another two claims on March 27 and March 30 and again, received payments of $665.
On March 31 Enkleman went to make yet another claim and was part way through the eligibility interview when police were called because her face had been recognised for making more than one claim.
Enkleman's solicitor Elizabeth Cassells put forward psychological reports for Magistrate Athol Kennedy to consider when making his decision.
Ms Cassells described Enkleman as having a “disorganised personality” and said she often “got caught up in things”.
She said she had an inability to think logically or to distinguish times and dates.
The court heard Enkleman had gone off all her medication at the time of the cyclone because she couldn't get access to them and then went back on it all at the same time just after.
Ms Cassells said she felt this may have contributed to her “unorganised state of mind” and said Enkleman had limited recollection of what happened during this time.
Ms Cassells told the court Enkleman could not recall what she did with the money she gained from the claims but that she thought she spent the first legitimate cheque on groceries.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Mark Flynn said he believed a term of imprisonment was warranted but he leaned toward having it wholly suspended.
Magistrate Kennedy said if health and psychological reports weren't submitted Enkleman would have “certainly gone to prison”.
Enkleman's prison sentence was suspended for 18 months and she was ordered to pay $1195 in restitution within this time.