It was alleged that the mum claimed more than $200,000 in Centrelink payments to care for her baby girl who died over 20 years ago…

Alison Christie Mains, a 41-year-old mum from Sydney, faced court yesterday charged with continuing to claim financial assistance from Centrelink for her baby girl for 15 years, even though the child died more than 20 years ago.

The court found that Alison had committed fraud to the value of more than $200,000, claiming benefits from 1998 until 2013, even though her severely disabled daughter had only lived for five short months after she was born.

Tragic Circumstances

In defending his client, Alison’s lawyer said that she experienced significant psychological distress following the death of her daughter, even dressing up a doll in place of the little girl.

“She received a range of payments relating to a deceased child during a period when she was not entitled to,” he said. “She absolutely accepts that and she did make false representations to Centrelink that her child was alive and in her care and had various disabilities that required additional care.”

The defence also pointed out that other factors in Alison’s life meant she was entitled to welfare payments that she had never claimed, which would have totalled close to the amount in question.

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No Excuse

Even Alison’s initial claim in 1998 for her daughter, who had a serious neurological condition, was fraudulent as the little girl had died just one month prior.

“The offending began as a result of her daughter dying in horrific, tragic circumstances, aged five months,” her lawyer said, highlighting her struggle with mental health issues. “It’s patently apparent that she deteriorated significantly in the period following her child’s death.”

While sentencing has been postponed until September, there is no doubt that this mum will have to face the serious consequences of her decade long deception.

Do you think Alison deserves a significant sentence for her crime? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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  • This is real sad but I do know why it wasn’t identified at the start.

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  • Yes she does, that is just absolutely appalling.

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  • She actively received payments fraudulently and continued to do so over a very long period of time. This is not okay. Those that rort the system make it difficult for those who genuinely need it. People like this woman make it hard for everyone else.

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  • People like this make it harder for people with legitimate reason to claim benefits they are entitled to. What I’m wondering is why they didn’t check up on her if she never had her daughter with her. A friend of mine had someone report that she was working so they stopped her payment until they could confirm or rule out the accusation. She volunteered at the local op shop one morning a week. Needless to say she went 6 weeks without any money. It was only due to all of her friends that she was able to feed herself and her dog until the money was reinstated. Even though it was false she never got that money back. Looks like you have to have a bit of a criminal mind to get any benefits.

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  • yet when actively reporting a fraud to centrelink and child support they just blindly believe the garbage the criminal comes out with, even when the kids are enrolled in school 2 hours away from the mother. The system is so flawed it is ridiculous. I am paying back a $3500 debt because my tax accountant hit the do not need to lodge button instead of the nil return button and by the time it was rectified it was too bad, doesn’t matter that we are struggling to the point of bankruptcy

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  • These people are just criminals, heaps of other people have tragic tales and they don’t rip off the system. Why was it not fact checked when she applied for benefits?

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  • This is despicable and there is no excuse whatsoever for defrauding the system for all those years! I think anyone could understand a few months or even a year but 20? Clearly just another bum ripping off taxpayers!

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  • It is indeed a tragedy that she lost her child, especially so young … but to claim benefits for your dead daughter! Mentally unstable at the time, as she more than likely was, this actually makes me feel quite ill …. and as the initial claim was after the child’s death, makes me suspicious that she knew exactly what she was doing!

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  • I don’t know what should happen, but it’s hard to decide when it’s a mental health issue.

    There are plenty other people who lie to get money

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  • It’s a very tragic situation.

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  • I feel sorry for her that she lost her daughter, it’s very sad. I can understand how the death of her daughter would have affected her mentally. However I cannot help but draw a line there. Claiming for benefits for a child that is no longer with her makes me think that she had her wits about her (so to speak) as there is a fair amount of paper work that you have to fill out for centrelink to get anything.

    I also wonder how there were no safety checks in place at Centrelinks end to double check that these treatments etc were actually ongoing – like a review/confirmation from doctors etc. So surely some of the onus falls on Centrelink for not reviewing her file and actually confirming that these claims were legit claims.

    All in all a very messy case and I can’t help to think that even if she is made to repay the 200K that it will never be fully paid off

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  • it’s sad to read this!

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  • I have mixed feelings on this yes she may have mental health issues from the loss of her child but is that any reason to claim 200K? sounds more like greed to me

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  • So wrong !

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  • As traumatic as it would have been to lose her child, I don’t believe she should have been claiming that particular benefit and to go with it for years is disappointing. How can this have gotten so far? Surely they would have had the death certificate or access to it somehow – I thought the departments all collaborated together so this information should have been readily available or am I missing something?

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