Wendy Lentini who was found guilty by jury in the Ipswich District Court of a $300,000 insurance fraud.
Wendy Lentini who was found guilty by jury in the Ipswich District Court of a $300,000 insurance fraud. Contributed

$300K fraudster mum rips off Centrelink

WENDY Lentini pulled off a monster $300,000 insurance scam by falsely claiming she suffers Multiple Sclerosis.

But the country woman from Mount Tarampa near Lowood, is back before court charged with Centrelink fraud.

The mum, who says she suffered "battered wife syndrome" when she agreed to commit her crimes, is serving a jail term imposed for the big insurance fraud she did with her now deceased husband Cammy Lentini.

Other people were also allegedly involved - one allegedly receiving more than $130,000 of the pay-out.

In the Federal case now before Ipswich Magistrates Court, Lentini had committed Centrelink fraud by falsely claiming a disability benefit of $36,279.10.

Wendy Jane Lentini, 57, appeared from jail via video-link and pleaded guilty to committing Centrelink fraud between May 2012 and June 2015.

Federal prosecutor Christine Wilson first outlined the 2002 insurance scam against the Commonwealth Bank's Comminsure, Lentini was found guilty of by jury following an Ipswich District Court trial in March 2018.

Judge Dennis Lynch QC then sentenced Lentini to five years jail - to be suspended after she serve 18 months. Her court appeal was subsequently dismissed.

Ms Wilson said the Centrelink fraud was committed 10 years after the insurance fraud when she lodged a claim with Centrelink for a Disability Allowance.

It was granted in August 2001 after Centrelink received a medical report and MRI result.

However, a woman who did suffer MS had pretended to be Lentini when doing the earlier medical tests for the insurance fraud.

Ms Wilson said the insurance fraud was discovered when Cammy Lentini tipped-off authorities prior to his suicide in 2012.

Ms Wilson said Lentini had repaid Centrelink just $4,314.44.

She said Lentini did not admit until May 2015 that she did not suffer Multiple Sclerosis "and did have knowledge of a fraud scheme she participated in".

Lentini was due to be released from jail on August 26. But in her submission on penalty Ms Wilson sought for extra jail time be served cumulatively - adding to her existing sentence for the Centrelink crime.

Defence lawyer Dale Hooper sought for any penalty to be served concurrent with her existing jail term that would allow her to be released in late August.

He outlined Lentini's health issues with depression and severe anxiety, saying she suffered two mini-strokes while in jail.

He said Lentini also took out a personal loan of $14,000 to pay her legal bills in the unsuccessful court appeal.

"She realises what she has done is wrong and is ashamed of that," Mr Hooper said.

Magistrate Tracy Mossop said Lentini could have simply stopped the payments "by coming clean" but instead continued to perpetuate the fraud.

Ms Mossop adjourned the sentence to Thursday, April 11 to consider the facts and submissions.



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