Woman defrauded hotels to house children

Woman defrauded hotels to house children

A WOMAN who forged documents and tricked three Mandurah hotels into providing more than $6000 in accommodation received a seven month prison sentence, suspended for a year, at Mandurah Magistrate’s Court today.

The court heard Leanne Emma Brodigan was evicted from her Pinjarra rental property last year because her ex-partner stopped paying her rent.

Brodigan and her four children, aged from three-years-old to eight weeks, found themselves homeless.

She went to St Vincent De Paul and they provided the family two nights accommodation at the Mandurah Foreshore Motel.

On Janaury 13, she produced a letter with a St Vincent De Paul letterhead saying they approved more accommodation.

The hotel let her stay thinking it was paid for.

Brodigan moved the family into the Comfort Inn motel and she paid an initial sum of money, which provided accommodation until February 14.

She refused to make further payments and produced a letter with a Bendigo Bank letterhead that said money owed had been drawn from the bank.

The hotel made enquiries to the bank and found out the letter was not from them.

On April 13, she moved the family to the Mandurah Family Motel and used a similar scheme.

All up, Brodigan defrauded the hotels of $6690.

She pleaded guilty to three counts of gaining benefit by fraud.

The police prosecutor asked for a community based order due to Brodigan’s unfortunate circumstances at the time of offending.

Magistrate Vivien Edwards questioned why Brodigan had not been charged with the more serious offence of forgery.

“The planning that went into producing the documents in my view is an aggravating feature,” she said.

“It is quite serious that in order to carry this out you produced false documents to businesses that suffered quite significantly financially.”

The court heard that Brodigan’s partner worked FIFO and paid her rent instead of paying child support.

She did not know he had stopped paying rent when she was evicted.

Brodigan has a home now and receives $1800 a fortnight in government benefits. While she was homeless she was receiving $1400.

Magistrate Edwards said the suspended sentence was warranted in the circumstances.

Brodigan will also take part in a community based order for six months.

She was order to pay Mandurah Foreshore Motel $3870, Comfort Inn $260 and $2560 in financial restitution.