A Hadspen man who took his eyes off the road, looked at a mobile phone, rolled a ute and lied about what happened has been sentenced for dishonestly trying to obtain a financial advantage.
Brock Gabriel Iezzi, 27, had been fishing and drinking with a mate at St Helens when he got behind the wheel of his Mitsubishi Triton on September 13 last year.
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While driving, Iezzi grabbed his mobile phone and started to reply to a text message.
His vehicle left the road, rolled and was badly damaged.
A day later, Iezzi contacted police and said the ute was stolen.
Iezzi repeated the lie in a false statutory declaration he signed and Allianz Insurance appointed an investigator to look into the matter.
When the investigator later interviewed Iezzi, he lied again and said the ute was stolen.
Hours after Iezzi admitted he had not told the truth and handed himself in to police.
Iezzi appeared in the Launceston Supreme Court on Friday and pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to dishonestly acquire a financial advantage.
Justice Robert Pearce accepted Iezzi had borrowed money to buy the crashed ute and panicked about financial repercussions.
"The vehicle was insured but your fear was that you would not be covered because the crash occurred as a result of you losing control when sending a text message on a mobile phone," Justice Pearce told Iezzi.
"You will suffer a heavy financial penalty regardless of the sentence I impose."
Justice Pearce told Iezzi the attempt at deception was "stupid" and "crude".
"You had a passenger at the time of the crash, and you arranged for others to pick you up from the crash site," Justice Pearce said.
"None of those persons were party to your attempt, and it was inevitable that the truth would emerge."
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While Iezzi had a generally good record of behaviour, Justice Pearce noted insurance companies were vulnerable to fraud.
"The company in this case did not pay the claim, but no doubt incurred some cost of the investigation," Justice Pearce said.
Iezzi was convicted and placed on a two-year community corrections order which requires him to undertake 70 hours of community service work.