A pregnant mother of two has pleaded guilty to multiple fraud offences in Wollongong Local Court after police raided her home and found a criminal to-do-list sticky taped to her bedroom wall.
The list detailed the criminal activities she would carry out on various days of the week.
Mondays were dedicated to writing up fake payslips in different people’s names, and Tuesdays were used for ordering phones in fake names.
Wednesdays were for opening fake Paypal, Afterpay and bank accounts in fake names and weekends were for applying for fuel cards and filling out loan applications.
It has been reported that the 32- year old Mum attended university on Thursdays and Fridays.
Police raided the home of Jade Killin after she sent medical documents to Community Corrections earlier this year seeking to excuse herself from court-appointed community service.
Staff became suspicious about the medical certificate, which said she was suffering morning sickness.
When they contacted her doctor, he made clear that he did not issued the certificate, suggesting that earlier ones may also have been fakes.
Ms Killin has been refused bail and remanded in custody.
Her sentencing is expected to take place in January 2020.
Fraud in New South Wales
There are a wide range of fraud-related offences in New South Wales: from embezzlement, to destroying documents with intention to defraud, to forgery and making false and misleading statements to defraud another.
However, the most frequently prosecuted fraud offence in our state falls under section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), which in 2010 consolidated 12 separate fraud offences.
The maximum penalty under section 192E is 10 years’ imprisonment if the case is referred to the District Court, or 2 years if it remains in the Local Court.
To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:
- By a deception, the defendant acted dishonestly,
- These actions created a financial advantage over another person’s property, or caused the other person to suffer a financial disadvantage, and
- The defendant’s actions were intentional or reckless.
In the context of the offence, ‘deception’ means any deception, by words or other conduct, as to fact or as to law, including:
- a deception as to the intentions of the person using the deception or any other person, or
- conduct by a person that causes a computer, a machine or any electronic device to make a response that the person is not authorised to cause it to make.
‘Dishonesty’ is determined according to the standards of ordinary people; and these standards must be known by the defendant at the time of the alleged offence to be dishonest.
The most common subcategory under section 192E
Information obtained from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research shows that in recent years the most common subcategory of fraud offence is ‘obtaining a benefit by deception’.
This category is used when a person is alleged to have dishonestly obtained a financial or other gain for themselves or a third party, knowingly or recklessly, and by engaging in a deception.
As it is fairly broad, the range of circumstances to which this charge applies can vary in nature and severity, from a small-scale offence against an individual to sophisticated, multi-million dollar schemes.
Offences that are handled in the higher courts are more likely to result in a custodial sentence. This is because offences which are dealt with in the district court will usually involve larger sums of money. The DPP is also more likely to refer cases of repeat offenders to the district court, rather than allow them to stay in the local court.
Penalties imposed for fraud offences
According to the latest sentencing figures from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, the most common outcome for those found guilty of a deception offence is imprisonment.
In the higher courts in 2013, a total of 67 people were found guilty of fraud and of those, 52 received a custodial sentence, six received an intensive correction order, five were given a bond without supervision, and three were given a suspended sentence.
In the local court, the results were more varied with a total of 2,392 people being found guilty of a fraud-related offence. The most common penalty was a fine, followed by a bond without supervision. A custodial sentence was the third most common penalty, followed by a community service order and a bond without conviction.