Hol­i­day goes wrong for Ro­ma­nian tourist

Tablelands Advertiser - - NEWS - Bec Singh

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.

Pic­ture: Sup­plied

Tashi, Finn, Costa, Shyqueeta (front) and Cas­sia en­joy a visit at Mt Mol­loy State School from the fa­mous gnome.

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