Charity worker charged over $2m post office scam

 

Grace Copoceanu is not who comes to mind when you think of organised crime.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) allege the charity centre supervisor was a member of a "suspected crime syndicate" said to have imported 2.3 tonnes of fake mail satchels from China that were then sold on eBay, costing Australia Post around $2 million in lost sales.

 

Carmen Gratiela ‘Grace’ Copoceanu in Blacktown on Thursday. Picture: John Grainger
Carmen Gratiela ‘Grace’ Copoceanu in Blacktown on Thursday. Picture: John Grainger

Carmen Gratiela "Grace" Copoceanu, 33, is accused of three offences, including "dishonestly intend to cause a loss to a person and the other person is a Commonwealth ­entity", which carries a maximum jail term of 10 years.

When The Daily Telegraph contacted her at Blacktown's Adventist and Development Relief Agency (ADRA) on Thursday afternoon she said: "For things like that I don't want to communicate or give any details."

Copoceanu was not required to attend Blacktown Local Court earlier in the day, when Michael Pruscino of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions sought for her case to be transferred to Parramatta Local Court on October 2 "so that it can travel with the three other co-­accused".

They are Dylan Zachy Mottlee, 27, from Richmond, 30-year-old Damien Steven Butler of Rossmore, and Brody Levi Cooper, 27, from Lethbridge Park.

The quartet is accused of ordering the counterfeit Express Post and prepaid Parcel Post bags over the year to May 2019.

The fake satchels seized by the Australian Federal Police. Picture: AFP
The fake satchels seized by the Australian Federal Police. Picture: AFP

Shortly after this time, ­Copoceanu featured in a local news story about her work as a supervisor at ADRA.

"For many of our clients, the choice is between having a roof over their head or food," Copoceanu, who was formerly a counsellor, said in the story. "A lot are finding there is too much week at the end of their money."

It is understood her family is prominent in Australia's Seventh Day Adventist Church community.

The offences, if proven, can be punished with up to five years' prison.

 

Some of the fake goods discovered by officers. Source: AFP
Some of the fake goods discovered by officers. Source: AFP

In a recent social media post about the charging of the four, the AFP said: "We have a message to deliver to organised crime groups - we are one step ahead and will stamp out attempts to siphon money away from Australians."

None of the accused has been charged with organised crime or criminal syndicate ­offences.

When The Daily Telegraph contacted her at Blacktown's Adventist and Development Relief Agency (ADRA) on Thursday afternoon she said: "For things like that I don't want to communicate or give any details."

Copoceanu was not required to attend Blacktown Local Court earlier in the day when Michael Pruscino of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions sought for her case to be transferred to Parramatta Local Court on October 2 "so that it can travel with the three other co-accused."

They are Dylan Zachy Mottlee, 27, from Richmond, 30-year-old Damien Steven Butler of Rossmore and Brody Levi Cooper, 27, from Lethbridge Park.

Magistrate Karen Robinson ordered the transfer to Parramatta and continued Copoceanu's bail.

Copoceanu's solicitor Philip Green of Jeffreys Lawyers submitted an appearance by email. The Telegraph contacted his office to ask if his client had entered a plea but received no response.

The quartet is accused of ordering counterfeit Express Post and prepaid Parcel Post bags from China over the year to May 2019.

Originally published as Charity worker charged over $2m post office scam


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