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Granny reveals $300k welfare fraud in bid to challenge $4m will

9News.com.au logo 9News.com.au 17/10/2018 Reid Butler

A Geelong great-grandmother has been jailed after stealing close to $300,000 from taxpayers over the past 21 years. 

Noel Newling, 76, who'd been lying to Centrelink about being single despite living in a relationship with a wealthy man, only confessed to the fraud in a bid to claim a slice of her late lover's $4 millionestate

When asked by A Current Affair why she persisted with the fraud, the elderly woman replied: "Well, I had to live." 

a man and a woman standing in front of a building: Noel Newling has been jailed after stealing almost $300,000 from taxpayers in welfare fraud. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd Noel Newling has been jailed after stealing almost $300,000 from taxpayers in welfare fraud.

Her late boyfriend, Geelong share trader Michael Stansfield, died in 2016, leaving Newling $50,000, a $185,000 property and a $34,000 car. 

But he gave the majority of his multi-million dollar estate to charity. 

When Newling discovered this, she was shocked. 

"I knew he had money, but I didn't know how much had, he was very private," she told A Current Affair

a sign on a pole: Newling told Centrelink she was single, despite living in a relationships. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd Newling told Centrelink she was single, despite living in a relationships.

When asked why her late lover hadn't left the millions to her, Newling replied: "I don't know!" 

Newling challenged the will in the Supreme Court, claiming she wasn't given adequate provision in his will, considering their lengthy relationship. 

But in doing so, she needed to reveal to Centrelink she'd been lying about her relationship status for decades, a gamble that ultimately would send her to prison. 

In Geelong Court, Newling pleaded guilty to counts of defrauding the Commonwealth and dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception. 

a large brick building with a clock on the side of a road: Newling was sentenced to two years and 10 months' jail. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd Newling was sentenced to two years and 10 months' jail.

Noel was sentenced to two years and 10 months' jail, but will be out in just four months – with a two-and-a-half year Good Behaviour Bond.

Human Services Minister Michael Keenan welcomed the punishment. 

"We don't care what your background is or what age you are, if we find you ripping off the system, we're going to go after you, prosecute you, and do all we can to make you pay for your crime," he said.

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