Customer jailed for scamming bank out of thousands

Brodie Bott

A TOOWOOMBA man who used false bank accounts to scam a quarter-of-a-million dollars for himself has been jailed.

Damian Ross Thompson already had a lengthy history of dishonesty offences before he set up the scam in May 2014, Toowoomba District Court was told.

Having obtained passport and driver's licence details of family members and friends without their knowledge, the 27-year-old had set up a number of Commonwealth Bank accounts in those people's names, Crown prosecutor Elizabeth Kelso told the court.

He had then deposited valueless cheques for various amounts into those accounts, withdrawing money into his accounts before the bank had had the opportunity to clear the cheque.

The amounts ranged from $1800 to $51,900, Ms Kelso said.

Investigations found Thompson had between May 26, 2014, and March 22, 2015, deposited cheques totalling $498,000 from which he had benefitted $246,263 which he had spent on various things, the court heard.

After bank officers eventually recognised the anomalies, police were called and a search done of Thompson's home where a number of cheque books were found.

When police spoke with Thompson he had blamed bipola disorder for his offending, Ms Kelso told the court.

Thompson pleaded guilty to fraud over $30,000.

His barrister David Jones told the court his client had spent 51 days in custody after his arrest which had terrified him.

Despite his offending, his client had never believed he would end up in jail and after the short stint he had experienced he didn't want to go back, Mr Jones said.

His client had been bullied at school and endured a difficult upbringing, he said.

His client was immature and still developing but the time he had spent in custody had changed his outlook markedly and he had not re-offended since being placed on strict bail conditions, Mr Jones submitted.

Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC noted Thompson had a history of dishonesty which included multiple offences of fraud, forgery, uttering, stealing and passing valueless cheques.

Describing Thompson's offending on this occasion as having a "sophisticated and systematic approach to it", Judge Horneman-Wren sentenced him to five years in jail but ordered he be eligible to apply for release on parole as of September 9, next year, after having served 18 months.

Topics:  commonwealth bank court fraud toowoomba

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