Holiday goes wrong for Romanian tourist
ROMANIAN national Costica Luean, 50, came to Australia on June 3 for the holiday of a lifetime and will remember it forever when he was charged with 12 counts of stealing and three counts of attempted stealing resulting in $4840 in compensation being sought by businesses and banks across Queensland.
The Mareeba Magistrates court heard that the father of five stole from banks and businesses in Maryborough, Coomera East, Urraween, Orralea, Browns Plains, Deception Bay, Currimundi, Agnes Waters, Mackay, Port Douglas, Mossman and Hopevale.
Luean’s defence lawyer Scott Osborne said he was a gambler and was excited when he got to Australia and saw the pokie machines.
“He was like a kid in a candy store because they do not have pokie machines in Romania,” Mr Osborne said.
“After all this time from all these charges, he only has €3350, $A5016.29, in his bank account and $A2718 cash. This is all he has to show for his efforts.
“He is clearly not a very good gambler.”
The court heard that Luean was approaching counters or teller staff to exchange 10 $100 notes to $50 notes, then he would ask for a different denomination of notes confusing staff members.
Whilst the staff member became distracted he would remove some of the $100 and all the $50 notes and would leave the premises.
Mr Osborne said when he was arrested on July 13 at 9.30am north of Mareeba, he explained to police what he had done.
“He gave details of the trickery and insight into his gambling addiction which this money was financing,” he said.
“He was using sly techniques to obtain money from retailers and banks in Queensland and knows he has done the wrong thing.
The Australian Border Force were in court on Monday for the outcome of this case as Luean’s tourist visa had expired.
“The Australian Border Force will want him to be deported as soon as he is released from prison,” Magistrate Tom Braes said.
Luean was sentenced to nine months imprisonment and will be suspended for 18 months where he will not be able to commit another offence, otherwise he will be imprisoned for 18 months.
He was ordered to pay all the compensation on Monday.
Tashi, Finn, Costa, Shyqueeta (front) and Cassia enjoy a visit at Mt Molloy State School from the famous gnome.