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Social housing manager moved $12k into her bank account

SHE was trying to work through severe depression from a traumatic childhood when she fraudulently obtained almost $12,000 from the now insolvent Rockhampton Affordable Housing Ltd.

Frances Anne Brown, 48, was the part-time manager at the organisation when she transferred funds from its bank account to hers, fortnightly, between February 2014 and May 2015 in 27 transactions ranging from $1000 to $120.

She pleaded guilty in Rockhampton District Court yesterday to one count of fraud as an employee.

Defence barrister Tom Polley said reports from Brown's psychiatrist and psychologist show Brown had been diagnosed with severe depression before the offending, linked to childhood and adult trauma along with rheumatoid arthritis pain and problems with gambling.

He said the reports also talked about Brown having disassociation periods, with some occurring during therapy sessions.

Mr Polley said the psychiatrist's report indicated Brown's diagnosis made her more vulnerable to such criminal behaviour and gambling.

He said the money Brown acquired was used to pay for medication, the private psychiatrist fees and gambling.

Judge Michael Burnett said while Rockhampton Affordable Housing folded after the fraud, the money Brown took would not have caused the company's insolvency, but rather brought it on earlier as the company had a $60,000 debt.

The court was told the organisation now belonged to the Queensland Department of Housing and Public Works.

"This was the straw that broke the camel's back,” Judge Burnett said.

Brown had started working as a volunteer with Rockhampton Affordable Housing in 2009.

Moving into a paid position, she took over the bookkeeping before being promoted to part-time manager.

The court was told Brown had been overpaid for a period prior to the offending, but that matter had been settled and was not acquired dishonestly.

Brown was sentenced to a two-year prison term, suspended after three months and operational for three years.

She was also ordered to pay $11,916 restitution.



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