Woman stole from own family to feed ice, gambling habit
A WOMAN battling ice and gambling addictions stole thousands of dollars in cash and property from her own family.
An Ipswich court heard that after getting money from her mother’s bankcards, Melissa Demiranda also stole gold plates from her brother, and stole and later sold her uncle’s car.
Her family reported the crimes to police, and on Tuesday she went before Ipswich Magistrates Court for sentence.
Melissa Estrada Demiranda, 29, from Southport, pleaded guilty to two charges of fraud; stealing; unlawful use of a motor vehicle; and possession of drug utensils.
Prosecutor Sergeant Brad Dick said the offences were committed between December and July.
Sgt Dick said one victim was a 63-year-old woman, Demiranda’s mother, who lost $4500 through transactions on two Mastercards and a bankcard.
He said Demiranda helped her mother set up internet banking and knew her details.
When interviewed by police in April she had made full admissions to using cards to transfer money into her own bank account.
Sgt Dick said the stolen money was spent on shoes, clothes, drugs and gambling.
“She appeared quite remorseful and genuinely ashamed,” Sgt Dick said.
“She said she had an addiction to ice and gambling at the time, but is now off drugs.
“She said she has given $1000 to her brother to pass on to her mother.”
Sgt Dick said Demiranda stayed at the home of her brother in Raceview in October but he woke at 2am to find she had left.
Two gold plates and more than $500 in notes and coins was missing.
“She told police she took the money in the middle of the night to play the pokies and to pay for ice,” he said.
The court heard Demiranda later returned a gold plate.
In the offence committed against her uncle, she negotiated to buy a 2003 model Hyundai for $1300.
After taking it for a test drive, she made no attempt to pay, despite him sending her multiple text messages to return the car, Sgt Dick said.
Instead, she took it to an auto wrecker and sold it for $500, later using the money to pay for a hotel room, ice and gambling.
Defence lawyer Matthew Fairclough said Demiranda regretted her behaviour and attended court with her mother.
“She is paying back what she took,” Mr Fairclough said.
“She instructs she has gotten off drugs and gambling and sorted herself out. She is quite ashamed.”
Magistrate Andy Cridland said Demiranda was on a probation order at the time of some of the offences.
He noted that she had a prior offence for stealing.
Demiranda was sentenced to a four-month jail term, wholly suspended for 18 months, and fined $250 for the drug utensil offence.
She was ordered to repay her brother $500, and her uncle $1300.