Man allegedly defrauds insurer of $43,000
A man, who a court heard, indicated he would plead guilty to a $43,000 fraud of an insurance company has been given a few months to show he can return the funds with a payment plan.
Charged with one count of forgery and uttering, one count of fraud and one count of utter forged document at Cleveland Magistrates Court on Thursday Samuel Michael Lemon, 35, indicated he would plead guilty when he next appears before the court on November 27.
The court heard Thornlands man Lemon had allegedly defrauded healthcare insurance company Bupa of $43,000 over the course of "about" 294 transactions.
According to court documents the alleged fraud occurred between March 1, 2017 and March 30, 2019.
The court was told that despite Lemon's complete lack of criminal history he would easily qualify for a term of imprisonment owing to the significant amount allegedly stolen.
Defence solicitor Bruce Johnston said Lemon had self-reported the alleged offending to his employer and had entered into a two-year repayment plan with Bupa.
Mr Johnston said Lemon had so far paid back $1,500 in five instalments and would pay back $200 per fortnight going forward.
However, when Magistrate Deborah Vasta pointed out it would take the defendant some 10 years to repay the funds at that rate, Lemon said he planned to pay back more when he could.
Mr Johnston said his client was remorseful and was determined to pay the moneys back.
"He has a very understanding boss," Mr Johnston said.
"It (the matter) is before the highest officer of that organisation.
"He (my client) believes he will be put in show-cause circumstance whether he will continue with that employment."
Magistrate Vasta said it was a "catch-22" situation and reasoned it would be more beneficial for Lemon to continue with his employment so as to repay funds until his next court appearance.
"He has already indicated his (guilty) plea so I don't feel I am inducing him," Magistrate Vasta said.
"I think it would be in the public's and Bupa's benefit that he, whatever the sentence, remain in the community.
"It will be a severe sentence for deterrence purposes but I don't see that there is much benefit to actually sending him to prison.
"I am happy for this payment plan to really kick in whether it be by suspended sentence or immediate parole or something of that nature."
The magistrate said the lengthy adjournment would allow Lemon to prove his ability to repay the funds and gather character references to show why he should not got to jail for what was "pretty greedy behaviour".
Lemon is scheduled to next appear before the court on November 27.
Originally published as Man allegedly defrauds insurer of $43,000