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DPP v Kousari-Rad & Anor [2021] VCC 2085

Mahin was sentenced following pleas of guilty to 2 counts of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception from a Commonwealth entity contrary to s 134.2(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. Daryoush was sentenced following pleading guilty to 1 count of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception from a Commonwealth identity contrary to s 134.2(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.  

Nature and Circumstances; During period of offending Mahin was in receipt of Newstart Allowance and Carers payment. Daryoush was initially granted the Age Pension on 3 July 2011 and received it continuously during period of offending. The statements of income and assets with Centrelink did not list any real estate assets besides the home in which they both lived. Neither sought to revise the information in those statements following subsequent purchase of the Glen Waverley property. Mahin made multiple false declarations that omitted the purchase of the Glen Waverley property. This was an intentional act with the purpose of deceiving the Department into believing asset holdings remained unchanged throughout the period of offending. Mahin received $32,648.67 in Newstart payments to which they were not entitled. Mahin received $66,398.86 in Carer Payments to which they were not entitled. Daryoush received $89,682.34 in Age Pension payments to which they were not entitled. Omission was clearly deliberate, premeditated and spanned a significant time period, approximately 7 and a half years. Offending only ceased once offenders became aware that ownership of property was detected and investigated by Centrelink.  

Guilty Plea: Pleas were entered at earliest available opportunity. An offender pleading guilty during the pandemic ought ordinarily receive a palpable amelioration. Such discount is less significant in this case because it is clear that the offender’s entered their pleas of guilty in response to the clear strength of the prosecution. It is no open to the offenders to buy their way out of punishment by prior full repayment of debt prior to the issue of charges. That factor is not decisive. Financial position was such that offender’s had ready availability of resources sufficient to completely discharge social security debts.  

Both offenders sentenced to 20 months imprisonment to be released forthwith on recognisance.
The CSD acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as First Australians and recognises their culture, history, diversity and their deep connection to the land. We acknowledge that we are on the land of the traditional owners and pay respects to Elders past and present.

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