Mums Walk Free After ‘Cynical’ Superannuation Fraud in West End

Two Queensland mothers who tried to steal $83,500 from the superannuation nest eggs of eight hardworking Queenslanders during the Covid-19 pandemic, by assuming their identities using personal information from a laptop stolen in West End, have walked free from court on good behaviour bonds in 2024.

The guilty parties, two women aged 45, appeared at the Brisbane District Court on Tuesday, the 28th of May 2024, where they admitted to three charges each related to the fraud.

The court heard that the pair were able to try to steal the superannuation by using personal information, including bank details, found on a laptop stolen from 3D Stone in West End in 2017. 

Later, these details were used with prepaid phones and mygov accounts to try to rip off Queenslanders by faking applications under the Early Release Superannuation program, which was designed to provide cash for those facing financial hardships amid the coronavirus pandemic. They tried to steal a portion of the superannuation funds by assuming other people’s identities, with victims telling the court they suffered emotional trauma and serious inconvenience.

The pair admitted to dealing with identification information that involved using a carriage service and influencing a Commonwealth public official. 

Judge Deborah Holliday KC, in sentencing, said the crimes were “serious” and the pair were only stopped from pocketing the cash due to anti-fraud protections by banks and super funds, and the proactive response by some of the victims. Ultimately, they only obtained $2,000.

Crown Prosecutor Clare O’Connor described the fraud as “cynical” and submitted that the pair should serve jail time and that offenders must be deterred. She stated they could not say “exactly what either of them did” in the fraud, considering them both as “principal offenders” for sentencing purposes.

Defence counsel Damien Walsh said his client was remorseful and had written a letter of apology to the court. Colin Reid said his client was a mother of three who had pleaded guilty 16 months ago and had the case hanging over her head.

The pair were both sentenced to two years’ prison, wholly suspended upon entering into a $1,000 good behaviour bond for two years and serving one year’s probation. The court heard that if they breach the conditions of the bond, they may be required to pay the $1,000.

Published 29-May-2024