Bushfire con: accused woman named — (The Herald Sun)

SSRI Ed note: Woman stops taking antidepressants, applies for compensation pretending father died in bushfire, is caught.

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The Herald Sun

Anthony Dowsley

February 21, 2009 12:00am

THIS is the woman who allegedly received thousands of dollars after claiming her father had died in Victoria’s horrific bushfires.

Kylie Ann Murphy, 31, was sent a $5000 payment from Centrelink to pay for a fire victim’s funeral, police claim.

Ms Murphy then allegedly tried to tap into a compassion-and-bereavement package by applying for $10,000 from the Victoria Bushfire Appeal Fund.

Police will allege it was then found Ms Murphy had no relationship with the deceased, leading to her arrest.

Detectives from Melbourne CIU charged the Sunshine woman on Thursday night with attempting to obtain property by deception and obtaining property by deception.

She told the Herald Sun she suffered depression and had stopped taking her medication when the alleged incidents occurred.

Police are investigating whether a family name was found in media reports, although Ms Murphy denies singling out any particular bushfire victim.

Ms Murphy, who has four children, sobbed yesterday while she told of the shame she felt.

“I’d been off my medication (at the time of the incidents),” she said.

“I’m not that kind of person. I just want this all to go away.”

Ms Murphy said she wanted to help bushfire victims.

“I’ll do anything I can,” she said.

She said that in the days after the bushfires devastated the lives of thousands of Victorians, she pitched in to help those in need.

“I’ve cleaned out all my cupboards. I’ve offered mattresses and blankets to the Red Cross,” she said.

“I’ve even offered for people to stay at my house.”

Ms Murphy was bailed to appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on April 14.

The chairman of the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund Advisory Panel, John Landy, said it was important to check the validity of claims.

“It is vitally important that we are able to get money quickly to the people who need it most, while also reassuring donors that we have the right checks and balances in place to protect their generous donations,” he said.

“A large number of people from the Department of Human Services are working long hours behind the scenes to make sure this happens, and I would like to thank each and every one of them for their hard work.”