Retired TAFE teacher Neville Fenn sentenced to four months' jail for Centrelink fraud

Neville Fenn has a history of community service, including volunteering to be a Wollongong Ambassador, responsible for greeting guests of the Norwegian Star cruise ship which came to Wollongong in February 2017.

Neville Fenn has a history of community service, including volunteering to be a Wollongong Ambassador, responsible for greeting guests of the Norwegian Star cruise ship which came to Wollongong in February 2017.

Retired TAFE teacher and long-time Illawarra athletics volunteer Neville Fenn has been sentenced to four months’ jail for social security fraud.

The 72-year-old, from Coniston, pleaded guilty in Wollongong Local Court on Thursday to three charges of engaging in conduct to obtain a financial advantage from a Commonwealth entity.

Fenn confessed to under-declaring more than $70,000 worth of income he’d received from working five casual jobs between 2012 and 2016 at the same time he was claiming a full aged pension.

Court documents revealed Fenn was paid $194,000 over the four year period from employers including TAFE NSW, Shellharbour Council and the NSW Board of Studies,but told Centrelink he’d only received $124,000.

Fenn was paid a pension of $73,000 during the same period, however should only have received $40,000 given his earnings.

​Court documents said the overpayment – totalling $33,000 – was picked up in August 2015 by the ATO.

Centrelink wrote to Fenn in April 2017 inviting him to participate in a formal interview however one did not take place. Fenn was subsequently charged and ordered to front court.

Neville Fenn, pictured in 2009

Neville Fenn, pictured in 2009

In imposing the jail sentence, Magistrate Michael Stoddart noted the seriousness of the charges and the quantum of money that had been fraudulently taken.

Fenn immediately lodged an appeal against the severity of the sentence. His release on conditional bail was not opposed by the prosecutor.

The appeal is expected to be heard in Wollongong District Court on April 6.

Fenn has also been ordered to repay the oustanding funds.