Accused fraudster 'stole from thieves' for luxury holiday

A WOMAN accused of defrauding a business out of more than $93,000 has been labelled a "small cog in a larger machine" who stole from the criminals she was involved with.

The 51-year-old Wendy Janine Baulch is accused of defrauding a Maryborough business of more than $93,000 which police allege she spent on a luxury ocean cruise.

Having being arrested at the Sydney docks disembarking from a cruise, Ms Baulch left the Brisbane Watchhouse with two large suitcases in tow once she was granted bail on Friday.

Ms Baulch, who has since moved to the Gold Coast, was granted bail from the Brisbane Magistrates Court despite defence lawyer Howard Posner admitting there was a "strong" police case.

Police objected to bail, arguing Ms Baulch was a risk of fleeing the country to Canada, though the reason was not explained in court.

However, Magistrate Wendy Cull ordered Ms Baulch surrender her passport to police and ordered her to not apply for an exit visa to leave Australia.

While police allege Ms Baulch, charged with fraud and hacking, was a major part of the scheme, Mr Posner said she was in fact a bit-player.

"The proposition is that she was a small cog in a large machine and a mule, but that she dipped her fingers into that till more than she should have done," Mr Posner said.

"It's not that she spent her ill-gotten gains; it's that she stole from the thieves."

Ms Cull said the actions Ms Baulch was charged with were "somewhat naïve" and easily detected.

Police allege Ms Baulch used the money to fly to Florida and take a luxury cruise from Miami to Sydney.

They claimed she planned to take a second leg from Sydney to Myanmar before police arrested her.

Her matter will be mentioned in court again on March 16.

- APN NEWSDESK


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