A woman scammed a flood relief payment from the Federal Government.
A woman scammed a flood relief payment from the Federal Government.

How this woman spent scammed disaster payment

A Logan housekeeper scammed a one-off Federal Government payment following last year's north Queensland floods in January despite living in New South Wales at the time.

Eagleby woman Litia Tanikomave, 27, received $1400 from Services Australia on May 2 last year by claiming the Queensland Disaster Recovery Payment which was established following the January floods that killed more than half a million cattle.

Tanikomave said she was living with her stepmum in Kirwan (near Townsville) in order to access the payment.

Beenleigh Magistrates Court heard Tanikomave first made contact with Services Australia on February 6 last year.

Eagleby welfare cheat Litia Tanikomave, 27. Picture: Facebook
Eagleby welfare cheat Litia Tanikomave, 27. Picture: Facebook

She said she was residing at a property at Kirwan with her uncle during the floods and she had lost personal property due to water damage.

However, the application was refused when a search revealed there was nothing at the address she gave.

On May 1, Tanikomave updated her address with Services Australia and claimed she was actually living with her stepmum at Kirwan during the floods.

This time she was successful, receiving a $1400 payment the following day, $1250 of which she immediately transferred to another bank account.

But it was not enough for Tanikomave - she proceeded to contact Services Australia on May 7, 8 and 20 to claim the payment had not been made as her account was closed.

However, NAB records showed the account was still open and she made full admission on December 11 last year.

At all relevant times, she was living and working at Armidale.

The court heard Tanikomave used the money to purchase furniture.

Commonwealth prosecutor Gabriel Perry told the court it was "persistent but not especially sophisticated" offending.

$700 has been repaid so far with $50 being repaid a fortnight.

Magistrate Louise Shephard commented it was Tanikomave's "persistency which proved to be her undoing", as she had already received the payment and if she had left it at that she may have remained undetected.

Tanikomave pleaded guilty to two charges of obtaining a financial advantage and one of making a false or misleading statement in an application.

She was ordered to perform 60 hours' community service.

"You've taken from the community, now you can give back," Ms Shephard said.

A conviction was recorded.

Originally published as How this woman spent scammed disaster payment


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