Gambling addict mum loses appeal over $200k tax fraud
A Coast mum has failed to have her sentence reduced after she was jailed for ripping off $200,000 from the Australian Taxation Office.
Justine Claire Ibbetson's pokies addiction motivated her to take a chance on deceiving the tax office using her phone store, One Zero Coolum.
She pleaded guilty in Maroochydore District Court on March 16 to nine counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception and two counts of attempting to gain a financial advantage by deception.
She was jailed for two-and-a-half years, to serve 10 months.
In a decision handed down by the Queensland Supreme Court in Brisbane on Friday, Ibbetson's appeal that her sentence was excessive was denied.
Her appeal claimed her mental health condition at the time she committed the frauds wasn't taken into account.
Across 13 months from March 2014, the 41-year-old mother claimed higher GST refunds from the tax office than to which she was entitled.
Commonwealth prosecutor Grace Devereaux said Ibbetson lodged 11 deceiving business activity statements in attempt to gain a total of $255,966.
She successfully obtained $200,533.
When Ibbetson's home was searched, she told detectives that her MYOB accounting software had triplicated her business records.
An analysis of the software found no evidence to that claim.
Defence barrister Simon Lewis told the court in March Ibbetson had worked for Telstra for years before starting her own business and the offending was motivated by a gambling and alcohol addiction.
Ibbetson argued in her appeal that Judge Glen Cash did not take into account her mental health condition during her sentence.
Ibbetson said that her solicitors had not obtained material from the Sunshine Coast University Hospital and her general practitioner which should have been provided to the court.
She also argued the effect her incarceration had on her daughter and the impact of COVID-19 on her in custody.
In their decision, Justices Walter Sofronoff, Anthe Philippides and Ann Lyons said while it was agreed that Ibbetson did have a substantial gambling addiction, it could not be used as an excuse for her serious offending.
"The court also noted that no evidence has been adduced about the actual effect on her daughter but it is accepted that personal visits have been restricted since the declaration of stage 3 restrictions in prisons," the document read.
Ibbetson's appeal was denied.