Woman stole $8125 from emergency flood funds

AN IPSWICH woman stole more than $8000 in flood grants and spent the lot fuelling a drug habit.

Elizabeth Lee Hansen, 26, took the money on five separate occasions after the flood hit in January of last year.

In total she claimed $8125 she was not entitled to and has not paid any of the money back to the community.

She applied for the money at shelters in Bundamba, Goodna and Wacol and then used the cash to pay for drugs.

Magistrate Donna MacCallum said Hansen's behaviour was a clear, deliberate and selfish course of conduct.

"You took advantage of other people's misery and sorrow," Ms MacCallum said.

"This wasn't a misunderstanding.

"It came from a source clearly made available to people who were in genuine need.

"It was selfish actions on your part."

Ms MacCallum said the flood affected lots of people, with emergency funds coming from the "public pool".

She noted the hand-outs were often approved without adequate checks being made.

Hansen pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud and was sentenced to six months' prison, wholly suspended for 12 months.

Defence lawyer Vincent Knox said his client had only had one minor entry on her criminal history before the fraud.

Mr Knox said Hansen was experiencing significant life problems at the time and was using illicit drugs.

He said she had stolen the money as it was an opportunistic means to pay for her addiction, but since then the mother-of-four had enrolled in a business diploma and had not used drugs for 12 months.

Ms MacCallum said the community expected people who stole from the public to be punished.



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