Ngawaiti Hoana Rawhiti, 25, was sentenced to four years jail for helping arrange the robbery of a pub she worked in.
Ngawaiti Hoana Rawhiti, 25, was sentenced to four years jail for helping arrange the robbery of a pub she worked in.

Hotel worker in robbery double fraud

A PUB employee swindled almost $20,000 in workers' compensation after pretending to be a victim in a robbery she helped arrange.

Ngawaiti Hoana Rawhiti, 25, pleaded guilty to defrauding or attempting to defraud an insurer and knowingly making a false or misleading statement to an authority, workcover or self-insurer when she appeared in Townsville's Industrial Magistrates Court via video link yesterday.

The court heard Rawhiti was benefiting from a false WorkCover claim after stating she was a victim in the robbery of Mackay's Boomerang Hotel in December 2015.

She was last year sentenced in Mackay District Court to four years' prison, suspended after 16 months, for her role in the $41,000 robbery, in which she was offered $5000 for information on how to reconcile the tills.

She was also tied up and played along with the harrowing robbery.

Rawhiti provided a false statement to police, the court heard last year.

The New Zealand citizen, who moved to Australia at just two months old, will be booted from the country.

Magistrate Ross Mack said the "brazen" offending was a "double take" of the robbery.

"You get the benefit of the heist, and then you get compensation for doing it," he said.

Office of Industrial Relations legal officer Simona McIlroy described the offending as a "protracted period of repeated dishonesty".

"It' a separate plan concocted for the reason of gaining workers' compensation," she said.

Ms McIlroy said $17,865.19 restitution and $2000 in investigation costs was sought.

She said the offences were doubling down on her initial dishonesty against her employer, by then claiming further compensation as a victim.

Defence barrister Dane Marley said Rawhiti was willing to pay the compensation and costs. He noted her level of rehabilitation and said she had completed certificate courses while behind bars and volunteered at the RSPCA.

Mr Mack described the offending as "blatant", "selfish" and "greedy".

"You claimed workers' compensation for an event that simply didn't happen," he said.

Rawhiti was sentenced to nine months wholly suspended for an operational period of two years.

She was ordered to pay restitution and costs.