A Warrnambool man has been jailed for rorting a scheme supporting those forced to self-isolate during the coronavirus pandemic.
Michael Redmond, 38, pleaded guilty in Warrnambool Magistrates Court on Monday to obtaining property by deception and contravening a conduct condition of bail.
He was jailed for the two days he served in custody at the Warrnambool police station cells.
The court heard Redmond provided false employment details in order to obtain a COVID-19 test isolation payment of $450.
He applied for the payment on September 6 last year, providing a fake employer but his own identity, date of birth and mobile number.
The court heard he supplied a fraudulent handwritten note detailing an employer who he had not worked for for many years.
Police allege the note included the mobile number of the employer, which actually belonged to Warrnambool's Louise Gavin, 36.
Redmond received the $450 on September 16.
He was interviewed by police on March 31 this year, stating it was Ms Gavin who applied for the payment but he who kept the cash.
Redmond was charged with obtaining property by deception and bailed with the condition he not associate with the woman.
Then on Friday, police attending a reported noise complaint in Cramer Street observed Redmond speaking with Ms Gavin outside his property.
The man was arrested and conveyed to the city's police station, where he spent the next two nights.
On Monday, Belinda Northey from Victoria Legal Aid said Redmond was on JobSeeker and likely spent the $450 on food.
Magistrate Mark Stratmann said Redmond had clearly "got caught up in a scheme of some sort".
"This kind of support being made available to people because of the impact of coronavirus is hard-fought by the government and it just can't be treated in the way that you have," he said.
The Standard reported in May that nine people had been arrested and charged following an investigation into alleged fraudulent COVID-19 test isolation applications.
All were charged with a range of offences including attempting to obtain property by deception and obtain property by deception.
The offences carry penalties of up to 10 years' jail.
The accused people were bailed to appear at a magistrates' court at a later date.
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