A WOMAN who lived rent-free for six months by lying to her landlord with fake deposit slips of more than $14,000 has faced court.
Nicolette Katherine Ostler, 27, entered into a private rent agreement with a landlord in a Springfield house where she lived with her mother, husband and four children.
When the landlord saw no money was being deposited into his bank account, Ostler began a series of lies and deception, including creating fake deposit slips and lying to a tribunal about non-payment.
Westpac Bank staff recognised the slips as fake and the landlord went to police in May last year.
Ostler continued to lie throughout the investigation, and failed to appear at a trial at Ipswich Magistrates Court.
She told a civil tribunal court the original deposit slips had been lost and insisted she had paid the rent.
Ostler pleaded guilty in court to 24 counts of fraud, forgery and uttering and was sentenced to six months prison, wholly suspended for two years.
She was also ordered to pay $14,400 restitution to her former landlord.
Magistrate Virginia Sturgess said Ostler's protracted conduct of lying for so long was particularly serious, and also noted Ostler hadn't paid a cent back yet.
"You were prepared to engage in criminal activity and maintained your deception to a tribunal," Ms Sturgess said.
"You made a choice not to work but it's not for the community to make up for the shortfall."
Defence lawyer Natasha Shorter said Ostler's actions had been for "need not greed" and she was willing to make a concerted effort to pay the money back.
"She has a supportive network to stay on track," Ms Shorter said.