Fraud sen­tence ap­peal

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWSFRONT - JES­SICA HOWARD Court Re­porter

A TAS­MA­NIAN credit card fraud­ster who used his stolen money to fund an “ex­ces­sive and elit­ist lifestyle” should have been sen­tenced to more than 14 months in prison, a Ho­bart court has heard.

In Au­gust, Stu­art Mal­colm Allen was jailed by Jus­tice Shan Ten­nent for 14 months, with el­i­gi­bil­ity for pa­role af­ter serv­ing half the sen­tence.

Allen was found guilty by a jury of 45 counts of in­sert­ing false in­for­ma­tion as data, five counts of com­puter-re­lated fraud and one count of fraud.

From March to Oc­to­ber 2013, Allen in­serted credit card de­tails with­out peo­ple’s au­tho­ri­sa­tion via Paypal and the Na­tional Aus­tralia Bank’s mer­chant bank­ing sys­tem, mak­ing bo­gus pur­chases to an on­line photography busi­ness he had set up.

When the trans­ac­tions were ul­ti­mately the sub­ject of charge­backs, Allen would then trans­fer the re­funds into his own bank ac­count.

The court heard many of the credit card num­bers were sourced by Allen while he was work­ing at the Quest Wil­liamstown North apart­ments in Mel­bourne.

He re­ceived $27,900 from Paypal and $74,000 from NAB in fraud­u­lent re­funds. He had at­tempted to process a fur­ther $165,000 of un­suc­cess­ful trans­ac­tions through NAB.

In the Court of Crim­i­nal Ap­peal yes­ter­day be­fore Chief Jus- tice Alan Blow and Jus­tices Michael Brett and Robert Pearce, the state ap­pealed Allen’s sen­tence on the grounds it was man­i­festly in­ad­e­quate.

Ap­pear­ing on be­half of the state, lawyer Kim An­cell said Allen had used the money to fund an “ex­ces­sive and elit­ist lifestyle” and his mo­ti­va­tion was “purely greed”.

She told the court he used the money to buy a BMW and went on trips to Queens­land, in­clud­ing a stay at the lux­ury ho­tel Palazzo Ver­sace on the Gold Coast. At the time of the Paypal of­fend­ing, Allen was sub­ject to a good be­haviour or­der from Jus­tice He­len Wood af­ter be­ing found guilty of fraud.

He was re­quired to ap­pear in court, but the mat­ter was listed 31 times af­ter Allen claimed he was too ill to at­tend but he was com­mit­ting the crimes that were the sub­ject of the ap­peal, Mrs An­cell said.

Allen’s lawyer Garth Stevens said 14 months in prison was not in­sub­stan­tial “es- pe­cially for a rel­a­tively young man ex­pe­ri­enc­ing it for the first time”. He said the sen­tenc­ing judge had given proper weight to all fac­tors and it was not a so­phis­ti­cated en­ter­prise, which meant the Crown case had been easy to prove.

Mr Stevens said Allen had been kept at the Ho­bart Re­cep­tion Prison rather than Ris­don Prison for his safety be­cause he was a “vul­ner­a­ble in­mate” due to be­ing openly ho­mo­sex­ual. The Court of Crim­i­nal Ap­peal has re­served its de­ci­sion.

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