A MOUNT ROWAN man who lied to receive more than $50,000 in WorkSafe payments was jailed for three months this morning.
Robert Howard, 54, appeared in Ballarat Magistrates Court today, charged with fraudulently obtaining payments.
The court heard Howard sustained a shoulder injury while working at Ballarat Goldfields Pty Ltd in May, 2009, for which he was receiving weekly payments of $1035.
WorkSafe prosecutor David O'Brien told the court Howard continued to work in Western Australian mines between June, 2010 and June, 2011.
However he told WorkSafe he was still unable to work due to the injury in order to continue to receiving payments.
In total, he received $54,000.
Mr O'Brien also claimed Howard's offending impacted not only WorkSafe, but at a cost of $132,647 to the community as a whole.
The court heard Howard worked in Western Australia, flying back to Ballarat every two weeks to obtain certificates to indicate he was not working.
Seeking a jail term, Mr O'Brien said the WorkSafe fund was not a "bottomless pit" of money and people needed to be deterred from repeating Howard's actions.
"It's sustained offending, it's quite pre-meditated flying in from Western Australia to get the documents," he said.
Howard's defence lawyer Andrew Meagher said his client pleaded guilty at the earliest possible opportunity and urged against a jail term.
In sentencing, Magistrate Frank Jones labelled the offending a "deliberate and sustained fraud".
"You abused the system which deserves a custodial sentence to serve as a deterrent," Magistrate Jones said.
Howard was sentenced to nine months prison, three of which are to be served immediately, with the remaining six months suspended for two years.
He was also ordered to pay back the $54,000 with a further $1500 in costs.