Mum's sneaky attempt to avoid paying bills

SEND your gas bills to a generous stranger to pay - that's what one Ipswich mum did.

When an Ipswich woman got a gas bill for a house she didn't have, or live in, she instantly knew she had a problem.

The energy account for a Lowood property was sent by AGL Energy and the worried woman immediately contacted the supplier to complain.

Police were called in and an investigation led to mother of three Rachelle T-Anne Tolan.

Tolan, 28, from North Ipswich, pleaded guilty in Ipswich Magistrates Court to committing fraud to dishonestly gain a benefit on June 12.

Prosecutor Sergeant Paul Caldwell said Tolan made a phone call to AGL and gave staff a false name and other details that was linked to the name being used so she could connect gas to a house in Lowood.

Some months later the woman whose card and other details Tolan fraudulently used received the energy account for a property she knew nothing about.

The subsequent investigation revealed she had been a victim to fraud at the hands of Tolan.

Sgt Caldwell said that when Tolan was interviewed she admitted living then at that Lowood address and telephoned AGL to arrange for gas to be out on.

"A friend had given her a name and details to open the account. She did not know the person," he said.

Police facts did not say how much the fraud involved.

Defence lawyer Kelsea Read said Tolan was a mother of three and the fraud offence could have been dealt with some months before when Tolan had other offences finalised and received an order to complete 100 hours of unpaid community service work.

Ms Read said Tolan instructs that she had since paid the bill in full.

Acting magistrate Roger Stark convicted and fined Tolan $300 - sent to SPER for a payment plan.