Fraudster fancies his chances in court

A MAN who defrauded the Commonwealth Government of almost $13,000 was ordered to repay the money and serve 180 hours unpaid community service.

From February 26, 2009, to July 23, 2010, Dimitrios Spanos violated section 135 of the Criminal Code when he failed to declare his income when receiving Newstart Allowance payments.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Kevin Ongheen, on behalf of the Commonwealth, told the Emerald Magistrate's Court on Monday that Spanos failed to disclose income earned for 28 fortnights to a value of $12,885.01.

Sgt Ongheen said Spanos had received the payments since November 15, 2006 until August 25, 2011.

An Australian Tax Office investigation on July 27, 2010, revealed the inconsistencies and on June 14, 2011, Spanos was invited to an interview, which he declined.

Spanos, representing himself in court, said he was guilty of the offence and told the court he had taken steps recently to repay the money.

"I am paying back $100 a week," he said.

"I've paid $200 so far."

Magistrate Cameron Press ordered Spanos be assessed by Corrective Services and intended to hand down a community service order at which time Spanos asked the court: "Any chance I don't do the community service?"

"Well, then you will go to jail," Mgst Press said candidly.

When the matter resumed, Mgst Press ordered Spanos to complete the 180 hours of community service, at which time he asked: "Any chance you could chop the community service back to half that because I am paying that back."

But Mgst Press refused the request, and said it "was not as if you have paid back a whole heap of money".

Spanos was ordered to repay the $12,885.01, $75.80 in court fees and complete the community service.

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