CONVICTED: Kourtney Ellen Grace Turner was sentenced to two years and six months in jail after being convicted of fraud.
CONVICTED: Kourtney Ellen Grace Turner was sentenced to two years and six months in jail after being convicted of fraud. Annie Perets

Woman lived high life on $46k of sporting group money

KOURTNEY Ellen Grace Turner lived the high life on more than $46,000 she swindled from community- run sport groups.

Now the Fraser Coast woman will spend at least four months behind bars after being sentenced at the Hervey Bay Magistrates Court.

Turner, 36, pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud on Thursday.

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The court heard Turner made hundreds of transfers to her personal banking account while she was treasurer of the Gayndah Gladiators Rugby League Club and the Gayndah Jockey Club between November 2016 and October 2017.

Police Prosecutor Kathryn Stagoll said Turner transferred $29,069.43 from the Gladiator's club account to her personal one while treasurer.

"It appears that poor record keeping and accepting verbal treasurer's reports ensured she was able to continue with the offending," Sgt Stagoll said.

"The offending only stopped when the club's funds ran out."

Sgt Stagoll said Turner then applied for another role with the Gayndah Jockey Club, where "a similar type of offending" occurred.

"The total amount there was $17,298.80," she said.

Sgt Stagoll said the total amount that had been taken from both clubs totalled $46,367.43.

Turner made admissions to police about the transactions and confessed she was an "internet shopper."

"(She) had spent the majority of the funds on clothing for her and her children, jewellery, mobile phones, homewares, bills... and her social life," Sgt Stagoll said.

"All to improve her standard of living above what she could afford."

Solicitor Michael Riedel said Turner was "genuinely remorseful" for her actions and intended to pay back all the money.

"She instructs me for a period of time, there were three people she knew in the area that had family issues and as a result could not reside in a place of staying," Mr Riedel said.

"She allowed them to move into her residence, they had no means of supporting themselves and relied entirely on her."

Mr Riedel told the court Turner had a difficult home life as a child after the death of her father at age 15.

"This had a massive impact on the family generally and resulted in her and her mother becoming estranged from each other to the point she left the family home," Mr Riedel said.

"She moved to Gayndah at age 25... (and) contributed heavily to the community as the president of the Gayndah Netball Club, a first aid officer with rugby league and ran water in a voluntary position."

During sentencing, Magistrate Stephen Gutteridge said Turner's actions indicated "persistent offending over a protracted period of time.

"The fraudulant activity was clearly a breach of trust against persons who believed you were offering them support and assistance," Mr Gutteridge said.

"In reality, it would take you many years to repay the full amount."

Turner was sentenced to two years and six months in jail, suspended after four months.


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