Taxi driver who claimed he was unfit for work defrauded Comcare of $60,000
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Taxi driver who claimed he was unfit for work defrauded Comcare of $60,000

An injured Canberra worker who didn't tell Comcare he was working as a taxi driver fraudulently claimed more than $60,000 in worker's compensation, a court has heard.

Jon Allred, 53, pleaded guilty to one count of obtaining a financial advantage by deception in the ACT Magistrates Court in June and appeared in the higher court on Thursday.

Court documents said Allred, a former ambulance officer, began to receive fortnightly worker's compensation payments from Comcare in 1991 after he injured his lower back at work.

As part of the benefits scheme, he had to provide ongoing medical evidence about his condition and fill out forms stating whether he had any other source of income.

He began work for Aerial Capital Group Limited between April 2007 and December 2010 and registered as a sole trader under the business name of Jon Allred and Personalised Taxis Canberra.

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When he filled out his Comcare review form in 2009, he said he wasn't working and didn't have another source of income at the time.

Comcare reviewed Allred's claim after CCTV footage obtained by investigators in December 2010 repeatedly showed him driving a Canberra Elite Taxi.

Federal police and Comcare seized documents and bank records when they searched his Gordon home later that month.

In a taped interview he later made admissions he had been paid to work as a taxi driver between 2006 and 2010.

He admitted he submitted documents to Comcare that stated he was unfit to work and had knowingly made false statements in his review form.

Court documents said Allred received $120,445.89 income from his work as a taxi driver between February 2009 and December 2010.

He was paid $71,713.90 in compensation in the same period but, because of his income, was only entitled to $7,295.28.

That meant he was overpaid $64,418.62, court documents said.

The Crown prosecutor argued Allred's deception was motivated by greed and said the Crown would seek an order for the money to be repaid.

He said Allred's offending was "at least mid-range seriousness" and earlier claims that he was frustrated by his rehabilitation were not grounds for fraud.

From the witness box, Allred's son said the court case had upset his father and now he just wanted to "make up for lost years in the past".

Defence lawyer Andrew Fraser said his client had a low to medium risk of reoffending and his rehabilitation prospects were "not bad".

He argued his client should not serve a jail term and could be suitable for community work.

Acting Chief Justice Richard Refshauge​ will sentence Allred next week.

Megan Gorrey is a reporter at the Sydney Morning Herald. She was previously a reporter at The Canberra Times.

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