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11 June 2022, 7:32am
Media Release

Canberra man sentenced for defrauding Commonwealth agency

Editor’s note: Images are available via Hightail.

A 48-year-old Canberra man was yesterday sentenced to two years’ imprisonment by the ACT Supreme Court for defrauding the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) of more than $300,000.

A warrant was executed at the man’s home in July 2017 after he purchased personal items with his corporate credit card including a bicycle, home security system, power tools, electronics and white goods, gardening tools, and a jet-ski. Police uncovered evidence that he also used his position within the organisation to purchase a gym membership and two vehicles using Commonwealth funds.

The illegal purchases, made between 2012 and 2017, were identified by the CSIRO during internal audit processes and referred to the AFP.

Acting Superintendent Tessa Giumelli said public officials were trusted to use taxpayer funds in a proper manner and misuse or corruption was a serious breach of that trust.

“Defrauding the Commonwealth prevents public funds from being used to support the wider Australian community,” she said.

The man pleaded guilty in September 2021 to;

  • Two counts of dishonestly causing a loss to a Commonwealth entity, contrary to section 135.1(3) of the Criminal Code (Cth)
  • Using a forged document, contrary to section 145.1(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).

The man was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, to be released on a good behaviour order after serving 12 months.

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