Woman's 3 years for $1/2m scam
A WOMAN who used taxpayers' money to pay for breast implants was jailed yesterday for 3-1/2 years.
Sylvia Nicole Wilson, of Uxbridge, was sentenced in the Supreme Court in Hobart after pleading guilty to defrauding the Commonwealth of more than $500,000.
Between 2000 and 2001 the 33-year-old made false applications for diesel fuel rebates through her partner's machinery hire business, Best Plant Hire.
The scam netted Wilson, who was the business's secretary, $581,292 before it was discovered.
The court heard she spent the money on luxuries such as a $2000 evening bag, $1500 pair of shoes, Louis Vuitton goods and designer items from Palazzo Versace.
She also spent money on breast augmentation and other plastic surgery.
Justice Peter Evans said it was clear that Wilson's spending was not confined to necessities.
"To that extent, it can be said that your criminal conduct was motivated by greed, not need," he said.
Her lawyer, Jim Wilkinson, told the court during a pre-sentencing hearing that Wilson went on her spending spree to compensate for an unhappy life.
Reading from a document written by his client, he said: "I thought the nice things I bought were compensation for an unhappy life I was too weak to leave."
Mr Wilkinson said Wilson's partner Robin Best started to drink heavily and abused her physically and emotionally about a year into their relationship.
Justice Evans said that when Wilson began her criminal conduct she was in an abusive relationship and suffering from depression and anorexia.
"Those conditions would have adversely impacted on your capacity to make rational decisions," he said.
Wilson's crimes were only discovered by chance when she contacted the Australian Tax Office about a rebate payment and it was discovered she was not authorised to make applications.
Wilson made admissions while being interviewed and eventually pleaded guilty to 34 charges of defrauding the Commonwealth.
Justice Evans ordered that Wilson be released after serving two years in jail on the condition she entered a $2000, two-year good behaviour bond.
As Wilson left the dock to begin her sentence she blew a kiss to her mother, sitting in the public gallery, who returned the gesture.