Religion prompts fraudulent car buy

A SUNSHINE Coast man who purchased a $120,000 luxury Lexus following the beliefs of a religious group has been sent to jail.

Mark Bruce Roy, 42, was sentenced to 18 months in jail, to be suspended after six months for two years, after facing Maroochydore District Court on charges of aggravated fraud.

The extravagant purchase occurred after Mr Roy became involved with a group called Keeper’s Watch, described by Judge John Robertson as a religious organisation.

“It’s an extraordinary and unique example of fraudulent behaviour,” Judge Robertson said.

He said the group’s belief was that every citizen was entitled to their share of the combined wealth of the country.

Mr Roy wrote a cheque for $120,000 to purchase the luxury car from a Lexus dealership.

The car was said to be only worth about $110,000 at the time of purchase because it was about to be superseded.

“A legitimate buyer would have obtained a discount,” Judge Robertson said.

The dealership discovered days later that the cheque was dishonest, and went to Mr Roy’s address to retrieve the car.

Mr Roy resisted at first, but police were called and his wife handed the keys over.

By the time it was returned, the car had done 400km.

It had been used to drive to the local shops and transport his children to and from school.

Judge Robertson said Mr Roy could have avoided court had he returned the car without incident.

Mr Roy had offered to pay restitution of $10,000, but Judge Robertson acknowledged that would take several years to pay back.

In his sentencing, Judge Robertson took into account Mr Roy’s position as the sole income earner for his wife and three children.

He had been working up to 60 hours a week doing two jobs.

“This is as merciful I can be taking into account your family’s circumstances,” the judge said.

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