A man who used the personal identification details of friends and relatives to divert Centrelink payments into his own bank account was sentenced in the Launceston Magistrates Court to 13 months jail on Tuesday.
Joshua Lee Scott, 31, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of dealing in information to pretend to be or pass off as another person, five counts of obtaining a financial advantage by deception and three counts of dealing with money suspected of being the proceeds of crime under Commonwealth information.
The total amount diverted to Scott's account was $3964.60.
Scott also pleaded guilty to stealing $30 worth of petrol, a number of driving charges including drug driving and family violence offences and breaches of bail by failing to appear in court.
Magistrate Ken Stanton said the offending had been brazen, persistent, planned with multiple steps with a high level of dishonesty.
He said it was relatively sophisticated with the information obtained from friends and relations included names, addresses, customer reference numbers, date of birth, mobile phone numbers, bank account details, partner's name, passwords and linking codes.
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Mr Stanton said that Scott used his knowledge of procedures to get details from customer service representatives and divert the money to his own account.
"Some of the victims were known to you including one victim who lived with your father," he said.
"It was inconvenient and distressing for them with some waiting for emergency payments and not knowing why they had not come through," Mr Stanton said.
He said Scott's actions were a serious breach of trust which were persisted over a sustained period.
"The weightiest sentencing imperative is general deterrence at a time when identity fraud is increasing in light of electronic means of communication used by Services Australia and Centrelink.
Defence counsel Fran McCracken told the court in a p[lea of mitigation that Scott had been in the grip of a methylamphetamine addiction when the offences were committed.
The court heard that he was homeless during much of the period of offending.
Mr Stanton sentenced him to eight months in jail on the Commonwealth charges backdated to July 22 when he was taken into custody.
He ordered that he be released on a $500 recognisance if he promised to be of good behaviour for 12 months.
For the driving, stealing family violence and breach of bail offences he was sentenced to five months with a non-parole period of three months.
He also ordered that Scott be placed on a Community Correction Order for 12 months from release.
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