In the latest prosecution over alleged rorting of the Northern Territory government-funded pensioner travel concession scheme, a travel agent charged with defrauding the taxpayer of more than AUD 110,000 will plead guilty to a charge of obtaining benefit by deception, a court has heard.
Vanessa Barrett, 45, was not required to appear in Darwin Local Court last Thursday, where her defence lawyer, Peter Maley, indicated his client would plead guilty, the NT News reported.
The publication quoted Maley saying: “This matter will be a plea of guilty.”
An ex-officio indictment had been filed in the Supreme Court, Crown Prosecutor David Morters stated. The matter will return to court on 31 May 2017.
Barrett is the latest travel agent to face NT courts over the pensioner travel concession scheme. Agencies are alleged to have invoiced the NT government for full-price flight tickets under the scheme, then issued discounted tickets to the pensioners concerned.
The major fraud squad is probing the allegations.
Previous agents have been convicted of defrauding the scheme of between AUD 12,000 and AUD 124,000.