How Andrew Antoniolli escaped spending time behind bars

A 'LOW risk' of re-offending has helped former Ipswich mayor Andrew Antoniolli avoid spending time behind bars. 

Antoniolli stood silently as magistrate Anthony Gett handed down his long-awaited sentence in the Ipswich Magistrates Court this morning.  

The former mayor was sentenced to six months imprisonment for 12 fraud offences he committed over 12 years when he was a councillor.

He was sentenced to three months for attempted fraud, committed when he was mayor.  

Convictions were recorded on all charges, putting Antoniolli's planned career as a real estate agent in jeopardy.

When Mr Gett closed the court Antoniolli embraced his wife, Karina, who was in the gallery for the delivery.

In sentencing, Mr Gett described his offending as self-serving and done partly to secure votes.  

"I accept seeking popularity was not your dominant motivation, but it was certainly a factor," Mr Gett said.

Over 12 years Antoniolli repeated the "same offending conduct over and over again", the magistrate said.

"There was no need to increase sophistication due to the success of your modus operandi," he said.

Mr Gett said the 48-year old had "otherwise led a blameless life" with no criminal history.

Antoniolli cried as the magistrate described him as a loving husband and father to his five daughters.

Mr Gett acknowledged Antoniolli's lifetime of serving the Ipswich community through his volunteer work and decade with the Queensland Police Service.

"You have an impressive, diverse and extensive history of community work," he said.

Mr Gett said Antoniolli had donated "hundreds and hundreds of hours of community work" and cited his "frontline" and leadership roles during the 2011 and 2013 floods.

Antoniolli's admissions "significantly shortened the lengthen of the trial" and reduced costs, even though he pleaded not guilty.  

"The community, acting through this court denounces the sort of conduct of which you were involved," Mr Gett said.   "There has been no demonstration of remorse."

The total quantum value of the fraud charges was $10,300 while the attempted fraud was $500.

"It cannot be reasonably said your conduct was an aberration," Mr Gett said.   

Mr Gett said Antoniolli knew what he was doing was wrong and cited his the amending of emails and failure to keep track of items.

"Your offending should be seen as serious as it was deliberate, calculated, cunning and not confined to an isolated incident," he said.

"It must be observed the $10,300… did not go into your own pocket.

"The charities, no doubt, benefited from the receipt of the funds.

Mr Gett said when Antoniolli breached bail he was in a "fragile and a distressed state".

He is "unlikely to ever obtain elected office again" and is at a low risk of re-offending, Mr Gett said.

The court was told Antoniolli was in a difficult financial position and was suffering from mental health problems.

He had been medicated for anxiety, depression and sleeplessness and was recently hospitalised.

"In perpetrating these offences you profoundly lost your moral compass," he said.

"The public rightly expected more from their elected officials than the dishonest conduct of which you were involved.   Antoniolli did not speak as he left court with wife, Karina.    

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