Family distraught as woman jailed for defrauding brother

AN Ipswich District Court room erupted as a woman was jailed for defrauding her brother.

Extra security was called to restrain the father of Janelle Marie Hartfiel, who sobbed in the docks before being led away to the cells.

The court was told that only five days after being handed a suspended jail term for Centrelink fraud in 2009, Hartfiel began defrauding her brother.

Hartfiel, a pamphlet distributor from One Mile, forged and altered documents to convince her brother she had repaid a second mortgage she took out on his home.

A mortgage company attempted to take possession of Hartfiel's parents' home, who she used as guarantor on her own home, after she defaulted on loan repayments.

She convinced her brother to take out a second mortgage worth more than $55,000 to save the family home - a debt she never repaid.

Hartfiel altered title documents on her brother's property to remove the second mortgage and later sent him a letter pretending to be from the mortgage company which said the debt had been cleared.

A victim impact statement tendered to the court revealed Hartfiel's brother was a single father and was forced to draw on his superannuation fund to pay the debt and save his home.

It happened days after she was sentenced in Ipswich Magistrates Court for Centrelink fraud, an offence in which she claimed payments she was not entitled to.

Hartfiel had previously been sentenced on fraud-related charges on two other occasions in 1998 and 2004.

The plea came after the charges initially went to trial and she was found guilty.

Hartfiel served six months in jail before the the Court of Appeal ordered a re-trail but she pleaded guilty to the charges.

Hartfiel pleaded guilty in Ipswich District Court yesterday to two counts each of fraud and uttering a forged document.

Judge Greg Koppenol sentenced Hartfiel to a head sentence of three years imprisonment with parole after six months and declared 190 days pre-sentence custody.

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