$100k fraud hits Gladstone council, ports corporation

JACINTA Rachael Murphy was "surprised" when she heard she had stolen more than $100,000 from companies across central Queensland.

Using fraudulent tax invoices, the 38-year-old gained funds during her employment as an administration officer at Energy Power System's Rockhampton branch between 2009 and 2011.

EPS supplies equipment such as vehicles, power generators and related parts to businesses.

An emotional Murphy pleaded guilty in the Rockhampton District Court on Wednesday to charges of fraud and attempted fraud.

Crown prosecutor Russell Hood said Murphy had issued tax invoices to customers, replacing the company's payment details with her own.

Customers, including the Gladstone Regional Council, Gladstone Ports Corporation, the Reef Hotel and several mining companies, unknowingly paid those invoices straight into her bank account.

This amounted to $103,405.01 - a figure which shocked Murphy. She also racked up $9634.04 on a company credit card.

Mr Hood said the company found out about the personal purchases and terminated her employment on February 28, 2011.

EPS was then contacted by Centrelink, who advised them of some suspicious transactions.

A full audit of the company was carried out and Murphy was charged.

The court heard a further invoice of $9477.42 was also issued by Murphy, but her account was not credited for this.

Defence barrister Jeff Clarke said Murphy used the money to pay for her husband's drug and alcohol habits, as well as a house.

He said her husband did not work and he had previously forced her to engage in prostitution.

The court heard Murphy suffered from a mental disorder.

Murphy was sentenced to four years jail, to be released on probation after 12 months.

House bought with stolen funds was flooded in 2011

A DEPOT Hill house bought by convicted fraudster Jacinta Rachael Murphy with stolen money flooded in 2011.

Rockhampton District Court heard the defendant and her husband bought the house with money she had gained through issuing false tax invoices at the company where she had worked.

Defence barrister Jeff Clarke told the court the house was uninsured and sold for less than Murphy had paid for it.

Mr Clarke said the couple also bought almost $10,000 worth of hardware goods from home improvement store Bunnings to do up the property.

This included tools, paint, fittings, furniture, garden and plumbing supplies. No offer of compensation was made to either company.

Some of the transactions Murphy received payment for:

  • $15,117.36 from Jalgrid Mining Limited on June 24, 2010
  • $7946.78 from Gladstone Reef Hotel on December 9, 2010
  • $5405.68 from New Mining Pty Ltd on January 11, 2011
  • $1746.24 from Gladstone Regional Council January 21, 2010