Catherine Dean pleaded guilty to multiple fraud charges in the Caloundra Magistrates Court.
Catherine Dean pleaded guilty to multiple fraud charges in the Caloundra Magistrates Court.

Mum loses job after spending spree with colleague’s card

A Bunnings employee lost her job after she went on a spending spree with the bank cards of a fellow colleague and Bunnings customer.

Police prosecutor Phillip Stephens told the Caloundra Magistrate Court Catherine Margaret Dean, 47, had been fired from her job at Caloundra Bunnings after she used two bank cards for purchases over $1000.

The court heard a 46-year-old colleague of Dean's at Caloundra Bunnings placed her handbag into an unlocked locker in the staffroom on April 30 which was only accessible to staff members.

Sergeant Stephens said the bank contacted the victim on May 1, alerting her to a number of fraudulent charges.

The court heard the card had been used at Kmart and Coles for purchases over $700.

"She (Dean) stated she could not recall where she located that particular debit card, however denied stealing the card from the victim," Sgt Stephens said.

"At the time the defendant was an employee at Bunnings Caloundra."

Sgt Stephens said Dean was also found in possession of a Bunnings customer's card.

"He (the customer) placed the card in his short pockets, however returned home and could not locate the card," he said.

The court heard the card was used to pay for fuel, food and household items for more than $400.

"She (Dean) stated that she had located the victim's credit card on the floor of a service station," Sgt Stephens said.

"She stated that it was opportunistic."

CCTV footage showed Dean at the service station where she fraudulently paid for fuel in her Bunnings' uniform but denied she found or stole the card at Bunnings.

The court heard Dean had no prior criminal history.

Dean pleaded guilty to multiple fraud charges in the Caloundra Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

Dean's solicitor Rowena Ferrall said Dean was a mother-of-three and had sent two letters of apology to the victims.

"At the time of committing these offences she was under an enormous amount of pressure," she said.

The court heard Dean had just moved out of her mother's house at the time of the offences and had been trying to recover from alcoholism.

"My client has never done anything like this before and she has no reason as to why she did it," Ms Ferrall said.

"But she does put it down to a form of self sabotage and the pressure of living alone.

"She regrets it terribly and is quite embarrassed by the situation."

The court heard Dean had lost her job at Bunnings as a result.

Magistrate Graham Hillan said the offences were quite serious.

"One would revisit your conduct and not reoffend," he said.

He fined Dean $2000.

She was also ordered to pay restitution of $1171.19.

No convictions were recorded.


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