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COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA (ABN: 122 104 616)
Australia's Prime Minister (CEO) Tony Abbott : "Australia is Open for Business"
Friday, September 26, 2014
Victorian problem gambler who stole $240,000 from Medicare and insurer avoids jail
A problem gambler from central Victoria who stole more than $240,000 from Medicare and her insurer has avoided a jail term.
Malmsbury woman Andrea Golic, 31, pleaded guilty to three charges, including obtaining financial advantage by deception from a Commonwealth entity.
The Victorian County Court heard that Golic developed a severe problem gambling habit after being introduced to gambling through colleagues at her accounting firm.
The court heard that the habit was "accelerated" after she was diagnosed with an operable brain tumour.
Golic lived with the condition for four years and eventually elected to have high-risk surgery in Sydney.
The court heard that the operation was a success against the odds and Golic was cured.
But she went on to bill Medicare and her health insurer repeatedly for the same operation, claiming more than $240,000 to feed her gambling habit.
In sentencing, Judge Mark Dean said Golic had a "pathological gambling addiction" and such serious offending would usually attract a prison term.
But he said that the addiction to gambling was "characterised by mental illness".
The court had previously heard Golic lost $500,000 to her habit in two years alone.
Judge Dean said "significant hardship" would be imposed on Golic in prison and instead sentenced her to 80 hours unpaid community service.
She was also ordered to undertake counselling for her gambling habit.
"In my opinion, yours is an exceptional case," Judge Dean said.
Judge Dean initially ordered Golic to re-pay $42,000 in compensation to her health insurer, but vacated the order after her lawyer objected.
It is unclear if she will have to repay that money, or almost $200,000 she claimed from Medicare.
The parties will return to court next week.
abc.net.au 19 Sep 2014
Apparently theft is a indictable offence. Just another example of the 'authorities' supporting crime. 'Mental illness' is a great excuse, it also can be used for murder.