TV refund scam, driving offences end with probation

A ROCKHAMPTON woman's cunning plan to be refunded for a television she never purchased backfired in court this week, landing her with a hefty fine, probation and a community service sentence.

Brittany Anne Hudson pleaded guilty to one count each of stealing and fraud, and a string of traffic offences, including driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle, displaying licence plates belonging to another vehicle, not displaying learner plates and not driving to the conditions of a learner licence.

Police prosecutor Clancy Fox told the court Hudson and a male person entered a JB-HiFi store in Rockhampton on July 6 and loitered in the computer section before removing an Acer laptop valued at $624 from its box and leaving the store without paying.

When interviewed by police later, Hudson said she allowed security to check her bags when she left, despite CCTV footage showing otherwise.

On July 17, Hudson returned to the same shopping centre but instead targeted Big W.

The court heard the 21-year-old approached the home entertainment section at about 6.10pm where she chose a television valued at $400 and then presented at the returns counter with a receipt issued at 10.10am on the same day.

Hudson returned the television and was given $400, citing her driver's licence as identification.

She later told police she purchased the same television, "returned home to discover she already owned one" so took it back to the store.

Hudson's run-in with the law continued on August 13 when she was nabbed by police driving an uninsured and unregistered car with registration plates belonging to another vehicle while not displaying learner plates and not driving to the conditions of a learner licence.

She told police she found the registration plates in a shed at her house and attached them to the car.

Magistrate Clarke sentenced Hudson with the fresh charges, following her guilty plea of similar fraud offences in late 2014.

A defence lawyer for Hudson told the court she was addicted to morphine at the time of the offences.

"My first reaction here today was to sentence you to prison," Magistrate Clarke told Hudson.

"I'm cheering to do community service," Hudson told Magistrate Clarke, giving him two thumbs up.

Hudson was sentenced to three years' probation with 100 hours' community service, fined $750 and disqualified from driving for three months.

She was ordered to pay $400 restitution.


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