A WOMAN who scammed Centrelink and several businesses out of more than $25,000 worth of goods and benefits has escaped jail.
Kelly Joy Barrett, 41, appeared in Ballarat Magistrates Court yesterday where she was sentenced to a 12 month community corrections order.
Magistrate Peter Couzens also ordered that she pay $18,944.20 in compensation to the victims.
Last week Barrett pleaded guilty to charges including five counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception and seven of obtaining property by deception.
On that occasion the court heard Barrett's deceptive spree began in 2007, when she was working for the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative while receiving social security payments at the same time. She declared little of her earnings there.
Then Barrett gained employment with the University of Ballarat and continued not to declare, or to under-declare her earnings.
In total the Wendouree woman unlawfully obtained almost $19,000 from Centrelink.
Barrett also made a series of false purchases from local businesses using cheques she knew would bounce.
Among her victims was a Bridge Mall clothing store, where she bought items including 11 suits and 10 shirts valued at more than $2000.
It was revealed Barrett hadn't paid back any of the new Centrelink debt because she was in the process of paying back a previous Centrelink debt of more than $10,000.
Barrett, a mother-of-four, has also faced court over that debt.