These are ten convicted Sunshine Coast fraudster or thieves to go through court in the past year.
These are ten convicted Sunshine Coast fraudster or thieves to go through court in the past year.

REVEALED: 10 of Coast’s worst fraudsters, forgers or thieves

From a woman who stole $8k from an elderly woman before leaving her stranded to a mum who stole $100k from her ex and went on holiday, here are 10 Sunshine Coast fraudsters, forgers or thieves to go through court in the past year.



Dodgy handyman who once faked cancer swindles $24k


A fraudster handyman who swindled customers out of more than $24,000 also once faked cancer to get more than $12,000 from his girlfriend for "treatments", a court heard.

Benjamin James Packer, 39, scammed nine clients out of a total of $24,522.50 between February 10 last year and January 22.

Police prosecutor Mark Burrell told Caloundra Magistrates Court Packer advertised his services online using his real name, provided quotes for work to be completed and failed to follow through once he received payment.

"In each instance, the victim paid the deposit and in return did not receive the work for which they had paid the deposit for," he said.

"The defendant cited various excuses to each victim as to why he had not commenced the jobs."

Packer pleaded guilty to eight charges of fraud dishonestly causing detriment and one charge of fraud dishonestly inducing the delivery of property.

Magistrate Stephanie Tonkin sentenced Packer to two-and-a-half years in jail, with a parole eligibility date of July 14 next year.

She also ordered he pay restitution to his victims.

Convictions were recorded.


'Impostor': Woman forges qualifications to gain nursing job


A mother-of-two forged documents and used another nurse's identity in order to gain employment at a Sunshine Coast aged care home.

Charlotte Emma Price pleaded guilty in Maroochydore Magistrates Court to three charges including attempted fraud, forgery and uttering.

Police prosecutor Amanda Brewer told the court Price had made an application for the position of clinical manager with Bolton Clarke residential accommodation.

The court heard the requirements of that position was a bachelor of nursing, current nursing registration with Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) with a minimum of four years' experience.

"As a result of Ms Price making an application for this position, there's been documentation presented," Senior Constable Brewer said.

"AHPRA has contacted this victim business and advised that the defendant under the name Charlotte Price was not and had never been a registered nurse."

The court heard that the registration number provided by Price belonged to a female nurse by the name of Charlotte Price Robertson, who was a registered nurse and resided in Victoria.

"Charlotte Price Robertson advised she has never resided in Queensland and had never applied for the position with the victim business," Senior Constable Brewer said.

"The actions by Ms Price in securing that job were deliberate, they were thought out and they were planned and required a significant number of steps including the written application, interview process and the making of the documents.

"Of note, Ms Price was actually offered the position, and it was only the due diligence and the checks conducted that exposed the offences."

Price was sentenced to a head sentence of nine months in jail, which was wholly suspended for 18 months.



Charlotte Price.
Charlotte Price.

Con takes $8k from elderly woman, leaves her stranded


A 91-year-old with dementia spent a cold night wandering the streets after a woman took her from a retirement village and coaxed her to withdraw $8500.

Rachel Brooke Villella, 43, was with her five-year-old child when she visited Buderim's Village Green on June 13 last year with a sinister agenda.

Maroochydore Magistrate Court heard she was out to fuel her drug addiction.

The 91-year-old wasn't the only pawn in her ploy.

"She went into her home and later in the afternoon she drove her to the Sunshine Plaza to the St George bank," police prosecutor Amanda Brewer said.

"While there, she has had the victim withdraw a total of $8500 in two separate transactions."

Senior Constable Brewer said she found it hard to comprehend what happened next.

"(The woman) was then left on her own and with her dementia she was unable to get herself to her home and to a place of safety," Sen-Constable Brewer said.

"She was left to wander the streets disoriented and confused for the whole of a winter's night in June."

At Maroochydore Magistrates Court, Villella cried as she confirmed her guilty plea to 10 offences including negligence causing harm and burglary.

She had spent 285 days in pre-sentence custody.

Villella was given a head sentence of two-and-a-half years in jail for the burglary of the 94-year-old woman.

She was on a six-month suspended sentence at the time of the offences for previous fraud she had committed.

Mr Stjernqvist activated the suspended sentence to be served cumulatively with the sentences.

Villella was released immediately on parole and will be on parole for three years.



Rachel Brooke Villella.
Rachel Brooke Villella.


Pokies-addicted mum jailed for $200k tax fraud


It was an emotional goodbye in the courtroom as a mother was sentenced to prison for fraudulently gaining $200,000 from the Australian Tax Office through her phone store.

A court heard Justine Claire Ibbetson's pokies addiction motivated her to take a chance on deceiving the tax office using her store One Zero Coolum.

Across 13 months from March 2014, the 41-year-old mother claimed higher GST refunds from the tax office than she was entitled to.

Commonwealth prosecutor Grace Devereaux said Ibbetson lodged 11 deceiving Business Activity Statements in attempt to gain a total of $255,966.

She successfully obtained $200,533.

"On seven occasions, once she had received her initial refund, the defendant submitted a revised BAS for the same period topping up the refund that she had already received," Ms Devereaux said.

"The amounts the defendant fraudulently obtained ranged between $7044, that was count one, to $33,101, which is count nine.

"Her final attempt, which was blocked by the ATO, was in the value of $37,619."

At Maroochydore District Court, she pleaded guilty to nine counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception and two counts of attempting to gain a financial advantage by deception.

Ibbetson was sentenced to two years and six months' jail, to serve 10 months.




Justine Claire Ibbetson.
Justine Claire Ibbetson.

'By hook or by crook': Young jailed over Kleenmaid scandal


Former Kleenmaid director Andrew Young was sentenced to nine years in jail after an exhaustive legal saga lasting eight years.

The Sunshine Coast businessman was the last of three directors from the whitegoods empire to be found guilty of fraud and insolvent trading following the company's inglorious $100 million collapse in 2009.

The 66-year-old's family and supporters packed out the gallery of the Brisbane District Court where Young - to the bitter end - pleaded his innocence to 17 charges of failing to prevent a company from incurring debt and two fraud charges.

In January after a lengthy trial, a jury found that Young had defrauded Westpac bank out of $13 million and accumulated debts of more than $750,000 while trading insolvent.

Commonwealth Prosecutor Lincoln Crowley said Young concealed the intertwined relationship of Kleenmaid's offshoot companies and how the company operated so that "Westpac never knew the full picture".

"The directors and this defendant took it upon themselves to keep the business afloat, by hook or by crook and ultimately it was by crook," Mr Crowley said.

Mr Crowley said in another "calculated and callous" case of fraud, Young sent an email marked "private and confidential" requesting that $330,000 be transferred into a trust account.

The court heard the request was made two days before the company went into voluntary administration and the money was slated for employee wages.

Young will spend at least five years behind bars before he is eligible for parole.



Andrew Young.
Andrew Young.

Thief leaves sorry note after stealing $500k property


A drug addicted thief who robbed houses of more than $500,000 of property and tried to run down a police officer after they found him in the bushland has been jailed.

Darren Moore, 36, left a note for the homeowners he stole from saying that he was addicted to drugs and that he was sorry for what he did.

Crown prosecutor Will Slack told Maroochydore District Court that Moore used his car to break through the gate of an Eerwah Vale property in July, last year.

"He entered the house and stole tools, weapons and car accessories which are valued at around $20,000," he said.

The court heard Moore then broke into another house in Eerwah Vale.

"He stole approximately $500,000 of jewellery, and $5000 of Canadian currency.

"He took the jewellery from the safe which was damaged beyond repair and it's valued at around $5000.

"He also stole some property and about $3000 cash."

The court heard police found most of the stolen property at the campsite but half of the Canadian and Australian money wasn't recovered.

They also found a red motorbike that had been stolen from Victoria.

Moore pleaded guilty by videolink in Maroochydore District Court to multiple charges including dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and enter premises and commit indictable offence.

Moore was sentenced to four years and three months jail, wholly suspended for five years after serving 15 months.


Tough times for businesses after gambling addict takes $400k


A Sunshine Coast woman who siphoned nearly $400,000 from two businesses to feed her gambling addiction was sentenced to six years in jail.

Catherine Maree Peters, 52, has not paid back a cent of the money she stole from the small businesses between 2014 and 2017.

Peters appeared in Brisbane District Court where she pleaded guilty to stealing and fraud charges and the details of her "gross breach of trust" were laid bare.

Crown prosecutor Christa Nicola told the court that Peters was working in accounts for Deagon IGA in 2014 when she stole $359,000 over nine months by pocketing sums of cash "daily".

She left the business after being confronted over the missing money and took a job as payroll manager of a steel construction business at Redland Bay, the court heard.

Peters then used three false employee names without tax file numbers to pay herself $39,000 of fake wages - all while she was aware that police were investigating her theft from the supermarket.

Peters was sentenced to six years' jail but will be eligible for parole on November 4, 2021.




Catherine Maree Peters.
Catherine Maree Peters.

Trusted mum steals $100K from ex, goes on holiday


A mother stole more than $100,000 from a "naive" ex-girlfriend after promising to look after her finances during a vulnerable time in her life.

Maria Guiseppo Obah, 55, sobbed as she hugged her children goodbye after being sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail for fraudulently using the money in multiple transactions across five months.

The Sicilian-born woman held her head in her hands and appeared to hold back tears as Maroochydore District Court heard how she spent some of the money on holidays and let the victim fall into debt.

Crown prosecutor Alex Stark said Obah offered to pay the bills for a woman she was dating in 2016 when the woman came into a sum of settlement money after her marriage break-up.

The victim's ex-husband had dealt with the finances in their marriage and she turned to Obah for help.

It was not until the victim received demand notice letters in 2018 did she realise $153,303.07 was "sold" from her accounts.

The court heard Obah transferred $100,000 into her son's bank account and spent $12,000 on an overseas holiday between December 5, 2016 and May 18, 2017.

She pleaded guilty at court to fraud- dishonestly gaining advantage more than $30,000, domestic violence offence.

Obah was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail, suspended after serving 14 months and operational for five years.




Maria Guiseppo Obah.
Maria Guiseppo Obah.

TAB worker jailed for gambling $177K in three hours


A TAB worker immediately realised the trouble he was in after using company money to place $177,000 in bets over three hours.

Jason Robert Hill, 47, called his wife to tell her he was driving to the police station after making 220 bets on a Keno Heads or Tails game on March 1 last year.

Maroochydore District Court heard the Tabcorp employee had been told by his manager he was, under no circumstances, allowed to place a bet for himself or any other person on Keno.

Crown prosecutor Alex Stark said Hill began placing bets at a Golden Beach TAB about 9.45am and lost $1300 of his own money before turning to Tabcorp's credit.

Over three hours he was captured on CCTV footage placing $177,000 in bets.

He won some of the bets but was left with a final debt of $91,664.

Hill was sentenced to three years in jail, suspended after six months.



Jason Robert Hill.
Jason Robert Hill.

Fraudster racks up $5K tool bill to feed drug addiction


A former homeless man with a "drug addiction" stole more than $5000 from a family friend who trusted him to look after their family while they were in rehab.

Jason Neville Sherras, 31, hung his head as Caloundra Magistrates Court heard how he took advantage of a business purchase book and made dozens of fraudulent transactions during a six-week period.

Sherras used the purchase book to buy $5003.63 in tools from February 4 until March 19, last year at Bundaberg.

Police prosecutor Mark Burrell said the "significant breach of trust" was made to "feed his drug habit".

Sherras pleaded guilty to 26 fraud charges.

Sherras was sentenced to six months in jail, wholly suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay $5003.63 restitution for the fraud charges with a conviction recorded.

He was fined $300 and ordered to pay $299 restitution for the stealing offence, and fined $500 and disqualified from driving for two years for driving unlicensed, with no conviction recorded.