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Soap Star Faces Jail - Updates

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Soap star faces jail

By Kate McClymont

The Age-July 27, 2005


Pat the Rat might become Pat The Rap with Gold Logie winner Rowena Wallace facing a possible jail term after being charged with multiple counts of social security fraud.

Wallace, best known as the nefarious Pat the Rat in the television soap Sons and Daughters, has been charged with defrauding Centrelink and dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage.

According to the statement of facts tendered to Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court, Wallace allegedly obtained payments from Centrelink in the form of a disability pension while in receipt of income from the Seven Network and Channel Ten's Good Morning Australia between November 9 and December 21, 1999.

She has also been charged with obtaining fares allowances she was not entitled to and obtaining payment from a disability pension between February 15 and March 14, 2000 — while earning income from Beauty and the Beast and the Seven Network.

The offences carry a 12-month jail term, a fine, or both.

It is believed that 57-year-old Wallace has repaid Centrelink $26,000.

Wallace, who won a Gold Logie in 1985 for her role as superbitch Patricia Hamilton, has been battling depression and ill health in recent years, culminating in a suicide attempt in 1996.

Earlier this year her frank acknowledgement of her struggle with depression and revelations about her addiction to pain-killers and alcohol — due to the debilitating spinal condition scoliosis, helped make Channel Nine's Celebrity Overhaul a ratings winner.

Along with Wallace, former Big Brother winner Trevor Butler, cricketer Merv Hughes and soap stars Peter Phelps and Melissa Bell collectively shed 73 kilograms.

"Depression is a difficult thing to understand for people who aren't going through it," she told the Herald Sun in February. "It is like someone is winding string around you and you can't move," she said.

"Your mind doesn't seem to belong to you. I would cut myself off completely, terrified of leaving the house. I wouldn't go out, even if I needed food."

Wallace said at the conclusion of Celebrity Overhaul that she had entered a new stage of her life. "I'm feeling I have a lot to look forward to," she said.

Wallace, who is yet to enter a plea, was not in court yesterday. The matter is due back in court next month.

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Gosh I liked her!


I still like her. Lets not kick someone when they are down. We dont know all the facts...and we all know how "accurate" press reports can be. :P

She obviously has had enormous problems. Depression and addiction can cause people to act in all sorts of out of character ways.

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She was featured on Today Tonight last year, when she was at her lowest ebb, and had tried to commit suicide. With the help of a financial advisor (who contacted TT and I believe gave his services free-of-charge) she was able to take some control of her finances and pay back some of the money owed to Centrelink.

She appeared on TT again a month or so later and appeared to be in much brighter spirits. Overhaul also did wonders for her.

Rowena has suffered from depression and severe back problems for many, many years. The 'business' isn't always kind to you, either; it is rumoured that some fellow actors on Sons and Daughters resented her for being seen (by viewers) as the anchor of the show. Her money problems forced her to move into a modest little bedsit and she was reported to have sold her 'Logies' to pay debts.

Speaking as someone who has suffered from depression and experienced addiction problems, I wish her all the best. I hope she is still the brighter, happier Rowena we saw on Overhaul, and that she is able to sort out her dispute with CentreLink.

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