Cafe owner guilty of $142,000 flood fraud
GRANTHAM cafe owner Christine Blackmore faces a nervous wait to see what her punishment will be for fraudulently claiming more than $142,000 in flood relief.
At Ipswich District Court, the 56-year-old was found guilty of three fraud offences that took place after the 2011 Grantham floods - a year after a first trial ended in a hung jury.
Blackmore's charges included dishonestly gaining a benefit worth more than $30,000, forging a power of attorney contract with the intent to defraud and uttering a forged document.
She was taken into custody, where she awaits sentencing for her crimes on October 12.
The maximum penalty for fraud is 12 years in jail.
Arresting officer Detective Senior Constable Trudi Flintham said a complaint made by the Department of Communities sparked the investigation more than two years ago.
Det Snr Const Flintham said Blackmore submitted documentation, which included a forged rates notice, to the Department of Communities to fraudulently obtain $142,763.
Minister for Communities Sharon Fentiman said flood funding was for those who needed it most.
"Payments from the Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal were meant for Queensland flood victims in genuine need after the state's worst disaster in recorded history," Ms Fentiman said.
"If people are suspected of making fraudulent claims, it will be reported to police and the full weight of the law will be applied."
Ms Fentiman said the Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal was a charity that Queenslanders contributed their hard-earned cash to.
"They rightly expect it to go to those who are most in need," Ms Fentiman said.