Fraudster escapes jail
A POTTSVILLE man who paraded as his partner's dead ex-husband for more than 20 years used the stolen identity to claim $28,129.52 in pension payments, despite not being of pension age.
Donald Stanley Houssenloge, 66, pleaded guilty in Tweed Heads Local Court yesterday to obtaining an advantage from a Commonwealth entity, and Magistrate Nick Reimer said his age was the only thing keeping him out of jail.
“On the face of it, a full-time custodial sentence is the only way to deal with this type of matter,” Mr Reimer said.
But Mr Reimer took into account Houssenloge's age and work in the community as part of the Cudgen Headland Social Bowls Club and Pottsville Sports Club, despite adding that “I don't suppose they know you are fraudulent in who you are”.
He ordered the 66-year-old complete 300 hours of community service, repay the outstanding $26,914.21 to Centrelink and also pay $166.50 in court costs.
“That is really a soft option; basic- ally you are one who does deserve a full time custodial sentence,” the Magistrate added.
The intricate details of Houssenloge's deception were not revealed in court and Mr Reimer said it was hard to understand how he was able to pull it off.
Documents tendered to the court painted a vague picture.
They state that in 1983, Houssenloge commenced a defacto relationship with Edith Boynton, and that same year he assumed the identity of Ms Boynton's former husband, Keith, who was born on April 16, 1938.
Since June 19, 1991, Houssenloge had almost continuously been receiving benefits from Centrelink using the name Boynton, and on February 27, 2004, he made a claim for the aged pension.
In the claim, Houssenloge asserted that his date of birth was April 16, 1938, and in support of the claim he provided Centrelink with an Australian citizenship certificate issued in the name of Keith Boynton.
The claim was granted and Houssenloge was paid the aged pension from February 11, 2004 until May 3 2006, receiving a total of $28,129.52 over that period.
Houssenloge, born in September 24, 1942 was not eligible for the aged pension until September 24, 2007.
On May 24 and 25, 2006, Houssenloge, using the name Keith Boynton, was interviewed by Centrelink investigators and made admissions in relation to the crime.
The court also heard Houssenloge had declared bankruptcy in 2007.
Houssenloge appeared before the Tweed Heads Local Court on July 6 last year for using the name Keith Boynton to obtain an Australian Passport, which he used to travel overseas eight times.
For that offence he was put on two, two-year good behaviour bonds.